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Cheap eats in the South Bay, Sunnyvale, again

CYL | Jun 26, 200405:47 PM

Yimster had posted about Famous Food Restaurant, a cheap eats, “hole-in-the-wall (HITW)“ find in Sunnyvale. I and my wife decided to sample the place, so invited Yimster and Mrs.Yimster and another old time San Francisco Chinatown native fiend of mine and his wife to drop in on Famous Food for a look-see.

As I entered the restaurant, there is a steam table counter for buffet and take-outs on the right and and about ten tables to the left. Studying what else was being offered, there was the regular menu, a four page list of 5.00 dishes totaling 110 different dishes, and a chef recommendations list of 24 dishes from 7.50 to 13.99 (one would not have been able to anticipate this much variety from a mere casual glance of the place!). To boot, apparently, if you order four 5.00 dishes, you also get a free chicken dish (this was not written anywhere, but Yimster knew about it and reported on it, and the waitress unhesitatingly acknowledged when so questioned).

There apparently was Peking duck offered at 13.00. We tried for it, but they were out of duck. The six of us then had the following:

House Herb Soup – Nice herb taste, surprised to see some chopped carrots and corn

Deluxe Seafood Clay Pot – A standard dish for which I usually order going to a new place to guage with that which I have sampled elsewhere. The Chinese characters said “eight treasures tofu clay pot.” I was disappointed in this dish – did not see anything close to eight treasures nor seafood (shrimp nor scallop nor squid). There was excess tofu and it was tasty even though the eight treasures were not visible.

Steam Oyster W/Black Bean (1 ½ order) – There were six plump oysters in the half-shell. Steamed with black beans and the right amount of ginger, the oysters were very enjoyable.

Chinese Style Beef Strips – Strips of tender beef tossed cooked with yellow onions with a hint of spice. The sauce smacked a little too much catsup taste however.

Braised XO Eggplant in Clay Pot – Delicate taste with XO sauce, but I thought the eggplant was overcooked to the point of being mushy.

Deep Fried Whole Sole (large, 9.99 dish) – Fried sole was done very well. Another dish I use to compare to compare to other places. Fins were crispy enough to eat, skin crispy, and the meat on the fish was still moist. There was sauce, but it apparently did not make a distinct impression – it did not stand out which made the total fish dish a little flat.

Smoked Half Chicken – This was the freebie dish. We had a choice of either Chinese fried chicken or smoked chicken. As smoked chicken is a more unusual dish, thats what we opted for. The smoked chicken was delicately smoked just right, not overdone. The chicken was meaty and moist, and there was a hint of brine. The chicken was very good – very much so for a freebie and even if it were not a freebie!.

Agar Agar dessert – Had pink and orange agar agar. Slightly sweet and fruity, but again, lacking in distinct taste and less moistness than jell-o (can’t tell what kind of fruit). Slices of sweet oranges would have gone over better.

Soup and rice were on the house. With a good tip, the tab amounted to 7.50/person. Aside from some disappointments noted above, for a HITH, for comfort food, variety, nonpretentious food, I am willing to return to sample some more of the dishes on their long list on future occasions.

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