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Historic Berkeley Chinese restaurant query


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Historic Berkeley Chinese restaurant query

eatzalot | | Dec 20, 2010 10:59 AM

Topic is Berkeley Chinese restaurants that opened before 1970. Some, I think, still operate. This discussion began in the long "Sichuan trend?" thread in General Chowhound Topics, here's a specific link, with information from buttertart (an oriental-languages scholar), with rarely mentioned local linguistic angles. Please read buttertart's enlightening posting:

First, to buttertart: (1) if Yangtze River was on Shattuck circa Delaware or Bkly Way, that was the very place whose owners (family Loum, pronounced "Lum") I knew around 1968-70. That was the neighborhood where I grew up. Another, unrelated Chinese restaurant, on Shattuck (opposite side, toward hills) just S. of University (name???) was popular, and was where we later got very hot food, mid to late 1970s. It was in a group of adjacent businesses that had a bad fire sometime in the 70s, closing some of them incl. the old Shattuck Ave. "Top Dog" location, but the restaurant may have survived.

(2) Huo Kuo House (owners Wan and Fraser Wu, who "came to the US in 1949 after the change of regime in China" according to their pre-1969 menu, spelled it with a K), on Vine W. of Shattuck, was the place I mentioned as closing 1969, until which it was my favorite restaurant as a child. What happened more precisely in '69 is that new owners or a new generation took over and changed the menu, and it became much like the average Chinese restaurant in town, plus fire pots. Until 1969 it offered the most unique long, narrow "egg rolls" tightly wrapped over a mainly herbal filling based on spinach or some other green herb. (Another "damn, I can still taste it!" taste, even after 40-plus years.) And a kind of pervasive delicacy and grace, extending even to the arrays of raw vegetables, fish, etc. that we'd cook in the hot broth in the (now surely illegal due to monoxide) charcoal-powered fire pot on our table.

Broader query: I tried and failed to recall to buttertart the name of a truly pioneering Chinese restaurant, opened late 1960s on College Ave. somewhere around Alcatraz, King something is how I recall the name. I guessed King Tsin initially, but an unrelated restaurant on Solano Ave. has that name, another place I knew and very well. The one I'm trying to recall has been discussed fondly elsewhere among old Berkelyans and is the first place in that town where I saw Kuo Teh (as a novel offering, parenthetically translated "pot stickers") and lots of vigorous Chinese spices, 1968. Recollections of the place and its juicy pot stickers precede buttertart's message in thread linked above.

Any info or memories of that place, or other Berkeley Chinese restaurants operating pre-1970, will be very welcome!

King Tsin
1699 Solano Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94707