This past Saturday, some local hounds and a couple of NYC hounds chowed down at May Hong in Oakland. We shared the following dishes:
Prawn lotus root salad
Beef wrapped in grape leaves
Shrimp with sugar cane
Salt and pepper shrimp
Beef cubes with onion gravy
Fire pot banana blossom eel stew
The food was uniformly excellent. I'm not sure I've ever tasted anything like the beef wrapped in grape leaves -- perhaps due to the unusual marinade of the wrapping. I've never had such deliciously sour food either. The crab was succulently pungent (among the best-prepared crab I've had in the Bay Area); the perfectly cooked crispy shrimp benefitted from an unusual sour yellow-colored spice rub (as did the beef); and the eel stew reminded me of the famous spicy mussel broth from Pho 84. Shrimp paste (delectably sweetened by sugar cane), vermicelli, and pickled vegetables wrapped in lettuce leaves make for an excellent Vietnamese-style burrito.
Although May Hong is also known for a seven-course beef menu, we chose instead to sample some of what the hostess described as the restaurant's "signature" dishes. I'm glad we followed her advice.
I'll be sure to arrange another chowdown at May Hong very soon.
417 7th St.
Oakland, CA 94607