There was a recent mention on Chowhound about Sunflower Bakery in Hercules (link below). Since I was in the area I thought Id check it out. To my surprise I found a number of Filipino restaurants and shops.
I havent tried any yet and was hoping that locals would post about what they like. The section is on Sycamore Avenue right at the foot of I-80.
Checking to see if there was any mention of Hercules restaurants on Chowhound (only WON THAI CUISINE), I found a post in 2002 that gave a link to Chronicle article that mentioned the growing Filipino population in Hercules.
The poster was hoping that would mean some good restaurants in the area. Looks like there might be. What I saw was a lot better than anything in Daly City and it seemed everyone had crispy pata.
I have to say that except for a few items, Filipino is one of my least favorite cuisines because so much seems greasy and/or fried. It is probably my lack of familiarity with the food.
However, some of the food I saw today made me sit up and take notice steam tables filled with a half dozen types of whole fish or heaped with fresh veggies. Bamboo steamers with all sorts of intriguing snacks wrapped in leaves.
MARYLOU'S HOMEMADE DELIGHTS
(Link below. Nice pictures).
Im guessing this is the best Filipino restaurant in the area.
Everything on the steam table looked wonderful. The baked and refrigerated goods were the freshest Ive seen at any Bay Area Filipino restaurant. I asked if there was a menu and was told the menu changes every day relying on what was best at the market that day. The whole place just smelled delicious.
I went late in the afternoon and they were pretty much sold out. They had these intriguing little jars of cookies with unusual names and wrapped in paper like Italian amoretti. They say some of their specialties are Ensaymada, Mamon, Sans Rival, Brazo De Mercedes. I have no clue what some of this is.
RSM ORIENTAL FOOD MART AND RESTAURANT
Right next door to Sunshine bakery. The steam table had two types of whole milk fish, huge steamed tilapia, fried tilapia, whole mackerel and a lot of other items. You can also have items cooked to order like the baked or grilled mussels with cheese.
They were really helpful about explaining what the dishes were.
The other half of the store was a small grocery with a freezer running down the middle carrying Filipino frozen foods. There were also fresh balut eggs for sale. Didnt realize the Filipinos were so fond of sardines. There were close to a dozen varieties. Instead of the little flat cans, they came in cans about the size of tomato paste.
This place had the least interesting steam table, but intriguing bamboo steamers with items wrapped in leaves. I bought two foliage bound packets for $1.
The cassava tasted like a sticky, starchy, gelatinous sweet potato. Interesting, but I wouldnt buy it again. Im not sure what the other item I had was, but it was pretty attractive. A long thin piece of salty sticky rice was wrapped in thin palm.
Coffee Shop with lots of pearl and tapioca teas. Just passed by and dont know what else it has to offer. School just let out and it was a local hangout for the kids and was very crowded.
L & L HAWAIIAN BBQ
Well, not Filipino, but this chain restaurant was located next to MaryAnns.
Im probably going to explore these places this weekend, so if there is anyone out there with suggestions, Id appreciate it.