Dim Sum and Dash (East Bay)
My last post about dim sum focused on the tradition of eating dim sum on Christmas Day. As such, I presented more formal dining options to celebrate the holiday with family and friends. Sometime however, you just want to grab some dim sum and dash. Here are some more casual dim sum spots in the Bay Area for just such an occasion.
Ming's Tasty Restaurant is located in Oakland's Chinatown. Because the restaurant is modestly sized and extremely popular, there is often a long wait and the dining room can be loud but, the food is yummy and the prices are affordable.
Stuffed Bitter Melon on Iron Plate (with fish and pork filling)
Ming's serves all the dim sum classics which are made when you order. They also have some more unique items on the menu, like the one above, if you are looking to try something new.
Deep Fried Tofu Skin Wrap with Shrimp
Rice Noodle Roll with Crispy Shrimp
Pea Sprout Dumplings with Shrimp
If you have complained about dim sum portions decreasing, you won't feel that way here. From the plump dumplings to the giant shrimp, the servings are generous and you will leave feeling full and satisfied.
Dumpling Hours was opened by the same owners as San Francisco's Dumpling Home (which I reviewed this past December). You will find Dumpling Hours just through the Caldecott Tunnel, in downtown Walnut Creek. The menu is extensive, the service is fast and there is indoor and outdoor seating available.
Pork wonton with sesame sauce and chili oil
This was the first time I had eaten dumplings with sesame sauce. The flavor of the sauce was great but I found the amount was too much and the texture a little too viscous, overpowering the delicate, steamed wonton skins stuffed with subtly spiced pork.
Pig ears and cucumber with chili sauce
Chinese cucumber salad with garlic and chilis is one of my favorites and I enjoy pig ears as well. This is the first time I have had them combined and I loved the way the textures and flavors overlapped and played off of one another.
Hot and spicy pork xiao long bao
This was another first for me. I am a xiao long bao connoisseur, and enjoy adding chili oil to the dumplings for a little heat but I have never had the spice incorporated into the stuffing like this. I enjoyed it.
Tao Yuen Pastry
Tao Yuen Pastry is located in Oakland's Chinatown and is the most casual of the spots in this post. This cash-only, counter-serve restaurant has been around for decades and has attracted quite a following.
Dim sum dumplings, as well as other dishes (noodles, sweet and sour chicken, fried fish etc) are presented in large trays behind glass, on the other side of which hungry patrons line up to order large portions at small prices. (A steamed pork bun is just $1.04!). The lines are long and turnover is high, so the food is always fresh.
Salt and Pepper Shrimp, Beef Roll with Chives and Shrimp Har Gow
When I said this place was casual, I wasn't kidding. There is no indoor seating and the take-out dumplings you order are all placed together directly in a plastic bag and handed to you. This is "dim sum and dash" at its most literal. So, grab some of your favorite items, take them home and enjoy at your pleasure -- straight from the bag or plated, the food is delicious.