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Hakka at Golden Mountain, Hayward

Dan Tongzhi | Nov 8, 2005 12:10 AM

There was a brief mention of Golden Mountain here about a year ago and recently I tried their Hakka specialties for the first time. Ownership of this restaurant has just changed from Hakka to Cantonese but the kitchen staff has remained the same.

Salt baked chicken, $16. Listed on the menu as a free range chicken, it's specifically the huang mao, or yellow feather, variety. With small breasts and a firm, toothsome texture, it's what a real chicken should be like. Only a half dozen or so chickens are cooked each day so they recommend that on weekends you call in the day of to reserve a chicken. The bird is marinated in Shaoxing wine and five spice powder and is cooked in a pile of salt. I found it to be moist, flavorful, and not too salty, but it was cooked farther than I like. The leg bones were cooked through and not red at the center.

Claypot pork belly with preserved mustard greens, $7. Called kau yuk, these slices of pork are luscious. The meat crumbles like the best slow cooked brisket and the fat and skin melts in the mouth. There is nothing like a mouthful of rice and kau yuk. I usually have another homestyle version where leaner belly slices are stir-fried and the preserved greens are still crunchy so is very decadent.

Tofu stuffed with ground pork, $7. Legend has it that the Hakka wanted to reproduce jiaozi in Southern China and so put a bit of meat into small blocks of tofu because wheat flour was too expensive. This is the most homestyle dish of the three. The tofu is pan fried and served in a brown sauce. Acceptable, but it's basically something that can be easily made at home. The previous thread about Golden Mountain mentioned that the tofu was not crispy - that's not how it should be anyways.

There are a few dishes that I'd like to go back and try, particularly the fried pig intestines with preserved vegetables.

The restaurant was nearly full on that Sunday evening with all but one table of Chinese diners. Finally, the service was very good. The waitstaff were happy to talk about the food to the Cantonese speakers at the table and the plates were changed several times - I've been to too many Chinese restaurants where bone and sauce covered plates are ignored.

Golden Mountain
21933 Foothill Blvd

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