Nine East Bay hounds convened for a leisurely Friday lunch of dim sum at Hong Kong East Ocean, way at the end of the peninsula in Emeryville. With the spectacular Bay view came passable, if not noteworthy, dim sum dishes:
1. Pan fried noodles with XO sauce. Good sauce, and better texture than other examples around town.
2. Salt and pepper calamari. Kind of greasy (in fact, all of the deep-fried dishes were unusually greasy), and the salt and pepper flavor was minimal.
3. Pan fried stuffed chili peppers. Jalapenos sliced in two longitudinally, with a mystery stuffing. Good flavors in the stuffing.
4. Salt and pepper jumbo shrimp. The only dish selected from a cart (this is mostly a pencil-and-paper dim sum place, not a cart-and-point dim sum place). The spectacular presentation and tasty dusting of salt and spices was overshadowed by the less than fresh texture and flavor of the shrimps themselves.
5. Rice noodles stuffed with shrimp. A fine version of this classic.
6. Deep fried taro dumplings. Ditto.
7. Siu Mai. Ditto
8. Steamed spareribs with preserved olives and black bean. Tasty sauce, but not my style.
9. Pan fried daikon cake. Excellent texture and flavor.
10. Chinese donut in rice noodles. An odd dish--chinese donut wrapped in thin rice paper with the same kind of sweet-savory sauce that comes with (5). The donut was extraordinarily greasy.
11. Clams in spicy sauce. Best sauce of the meal, deep and warm, we wished for some rice to sop it up with.
12. Seaweed with octopus. Another spectacular presentation, but I didn't feel like trying it.
13. Shrimp dumplings. Another fine version of this standard.
14. Fried sesame balls with sweet bean paste
15. Mango custard. Both this and the previous dish had a delicate floral aroma. The sesame balls were, yes, greasy. The custard was excellent.
16. Silky tofu. I don't care for this dish, so I didn't try this version.
There were two varieties of tea, and Nick brought a tasty Riesling Kabinett .
In all, the food was fine, but there is better dim sum at other places around the East Bay. It was good to check in on this venerable restaurant, though, and many thanks to Melanie for organizing the event.