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Restaurants & Bars 5

Manila Garden Cafe - Oakland chinese

SU | May 8, 200612:13 PM

Since I haven't been there the past month, headed to one of my fave casual chinese dining establishments for Sunday night dinner... and had a few off-menu specials.

We ordered the 2-dish fish combo (using the same fish in 2 dishes): one is a clay pot with roast pork, tofu, mushrooms, garlic cloves, and other yummy stuff with the fish "bones" - chunks of fish from the bones/fins/tail parts; the other dish was a stir fry of the meaty fish parts with... oh shoot i forgot the veggie it came with, possibly green beans? But all in all I really enjoyed the clay pot half, especially with some of the bones cooked to edible/crunchable cartilage texture... maybe thats why memory of the other half is not as clear.

2nd item we ordered was a special dreamed up by the chef: crab fried with shredded pork (yuk soong hai) prepared kind of like salt & pepper crab but stirfried with shredded pork instead... pretty good -- we finished the whole platter in one sitting.

3rd item was fish belly w/ egg whites, another off-menu specialty. The whitish fish belly was cooked with snowy egg white and seasoned very lightly, a perfect contrast to the fish clay pot which had a lot of heavy flavor. This fish belly dish was garnished with toasted pine nuts and shreds of ham... and was so good the plate was scraped clean.

Manila Garden Cafe: 370/372 12th St, Oakland (between Webster and Franklin)

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