Report on Chow lunch at Bay Fung Tong in Oakland.
Marc W set up the lunch, and five of us (Carol and I, SusanC, and Michael the Lurker) stuffed ourselves with these dishes:
Soup (complimentary). Somewhat "hot and sour", more hot than sour (black pepper hot), with cubes of bean curd. Tasty, and appropriate on a coolish day.
Bay Fung Tong Crab ($14.99). Stirfried with black beans, garlic, pork (a dry sauce). The fried pork bits were the best, and the innards in the shell were tasty (I had to fight Marc for the inside "green parts").
OngChoy (listed as "Watercress" on the wall posters). With furu sauce (fermented beancurd). The vegetable was well-done but not overcooked, overall quite tasty.
Spicy Salted Squid ($4.95). A disappointment. I wanted to like it -- it looked so good, in a light batter, with tentacles as well as body meat. But it turned out heavy and greasy. This was mostly left over, and Marc took it back to his office for further work in the microwave.
Lamb with Dry Bean Curd ($6.88). A winner. The lamb was uniformly tender (not always the case with this dish). Lots of bones, skin, tendon, along with the meat, also some scallions and black mushroom. The "dry bean curd" is really tofu skin (soybean milk skin), and it was tasty too. The sauce (gravy) was sweet and silky, nicely seasoned with a touch of anise. The lamb flavor was strong and I wonder if this is the same as "goat" in other places (I'm not sure the Chinese make a clear distinction between the two).
House Special Chow Fun ($5.50). We ordered the "dry" option. All agreed that the "special" was not so special. It had a lot of squid, a few scallops, and some pork and chicken. It seemed greasy and underseasoned.
Portions were generous, the total bill was $43 (before tip). Service was a bit random but cheerful (they do a big lunch business).
Carol commented that it seemed like "cafeteria" food -- prepared for a big crowd
I'd like to come back for a seafood dinner -- they advertised some very attractive prices for the live tank fish ($8.88 per pound for sturgeon three ways, $13/pound for live parrot fish, $17/pound for live prawns). It's a big place, probably fewer patrons at dinner, so maybe the higher-end items would be better.
Thanks to Marc for putting it together; we may have more of these Oakland lunches in the near future.
Bay Fung Tong