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Joy(ful) experience

ed k | Apr 26, 200309:08 PM

Last night a group of 7 friends (plus one who had just come directly from Munich) went to Joy Restaurant in Foster City. I had been there once before with Yimster and several others for lunch on a weekend, but this was my first time there at night. I'd have to say that this was one of the finest meals I've had lately, definitely one I'll remember for a long time.

The table was reserved for 8PM, but it wasn't ready quite yet, so our large group stood outside on the sidewalk and the restaurant supplied us with wine glasses and a corkscrew, and we began to dive into a 2001 Gaillard Gonon Condrieu that we had brought. We were seated soon after this.

Of the 8 people at our table, 5 understood the waistaff who speak Mandarin. I was not among the bilinguists, but my friend Wendy had translated one of the Chinese menus into English for me. I believe she did most of the ordering, but since I couldn't understand the conversation during the ordering, I'm not sure. Regardless, this is what we ordered and enjoyed:

Befong tang shieh-Fried whole crab with garlic salt and chili pepper served with rice noodle soup (also known as Cantonese style crab). This was an amazing dish, just by the presentation alone. We ate the crab legs first, then had the soup with a spoonful of the garlic salt/chili pepper mixture. The crab meat was sweet and tender. I had thought that crab season would be over, but this crab was very good. The soup with the flavorings from this dish was very salty and spicy, maybe too much for some people, but I thought it was perfect.

Ming tsu xiao chow—Famous chef stir fry (Joy special stir fry). This was a fairly simple dish, but the flavors were amazing, and I found myself coming back to it more than some of the others at the table. I'm not even sure what went into it, but it looked like chopped tofu and some greens stir fried together. I was told that this was a dish that's kind of a mixture of whatever is available and looks good gets thrown in.

Wu gung chung wong—Intestine blood and tofu. This was served in a small pot over a sterno flame. It was like a stew, and most of us ate this out of a bowl with rice. The intestine flavors were very strong, but much milder than the Stinky Tofu, which we didn't order (thankfully!). Also there was quite a lot of spicy heat in this dish. Not my favorite, but everyone else loved this.

Hong xao yuan ti—Braised pork butt. Very tender pork meat, rich, but less fatty than the pork trotters I had tried there a few months ago, still very similarly flavored. One of my favorites of the night.

Boneless 8 treasures duck with buns stuffed with sticky rice. This reminded me of a cross between the sticky rice stuffed chicken at Great Eastern in SF and the Peking Duck that I've seen at Shun Lee in NY. I'm not sure it was a favorite of the table, but I thought between the presentation and the very good sticky rice, it was a success. A meatier, more flavorful duck would have been better though.

Ca yang tse gua-Braised loofah with dried shrimp. This was my least favorite dish. I only had one bite and it tasted very moldy to me. Everyone else seemed to enjoy it, so maybe I just had a bad piece.

Hong do xiao yuan tze tang-Aduki beans with rice ball soup. This was one of two desserts but I didn't try this one.

Jio ngien guay hwa tze ma tang yuan-Fermented rice sesame rice ball dumpling. I had recently tried this at Jai Yun in SF and thought it was quite a bit better there. This version was a little too acidic for me.

Other wines that we had brought were a 2000 Kreydenweiss Gewurztraminer, a 2001 Riesling from the Pfalz (producer's name I forgot), a 95 Torre Muga (great with the pork), a 2001 Robert Weil Riesling, a 97 Dirler Pinot Gris Vendange Tardive, and the above-mentioned Condrieu which went well with the crab.

The meal cost $30 per person including tax, tip and supposedly a $3/bottle corkage. I'm not sure they charged us for every bottle though. I'll definitely return there.

Joy Restaurant
1495 Beach Park Blvd.
Foster City
650 345 1762

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