Yesterday I was driving through Oakland at noon time swelter and headed down International for a quick bite. When I spotted a parking space in deep shade under a big tree, I grabbed and then looked around to see what the dining options might be. Luckily, this near a small corner shopping mall with three restaurants: New Pagolac, Fung Wong (bakery and banh mi place), and Hong Kong Restaurant.
Hong Kong had banners outside saying tea was complimentary from 8-3 with lunch which sounded like dim sum might be offered. Indeed it is, as well as some barbecue items, noodles, rice plates, and other simple dishes. There are also seafood tanks, although the creatures looked none too lively.
Dim sum are ordered by filling out a form and then the selections are cooked to order. I was excited to see seafood roll on the list, hoping it might be the elusive Teochew shrimp roll, but none were available. Instead I had spareribs with black bean sauce ($1.85), turnip cakes (3/$1.85), shrimp dumplings (har gau, 4/$2.50), and tieu chau dumplings (chiu chau fun gor, 3/$2.25).
The spareribs were very tasty with some chilis, a small amount of whole fermented black beans, and a touch of vinegar. Less greasy and leaner than usual, but slightly undercooked and too firm. Could have benefited from more time on the fire.
The turnip cakes were not that good. Heavy and not enough meat bits or shreds of lo bok.
The har gau were above average. While the skins were not as thin as I'd like, you could still see through them and they were very elastic and not doughy. The shrimp were whole pieces and well seasoned. These tasted very fresh.
The tieu chau dumplings were a first for me. Bigger, more rotund and bulging than what I expect from fun gor dumplings, these were pleated across the top. The translucent wrapper had clear bubbles and an almost rubbery stretchy quality that made me think of 'flubber'. The wrapper was very, very chewy and so resilient, it was almost hard to bite through. Quite interesting texture! The filling was new for me too with finely minced pork, scallions, pickled veggies, black mushroom, dried chilis, and chopped peanuts, and it was loose and not compacted. This was my favorite item.
All in all, an impressive showing for a casual and inexpensive neighborhood place. Not the highest of high quality, but very good for the price and setting. I liked the food better than Jade Villa's.
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