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26 Outstanding Chinese Restaurants in the East Bay

From handmade dumplings to Sichuan classics

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The East Bay is swimming in quality Chinese restaurants, whether you’re looking for hand-pulled noodles or knife-shaved noodles, Cantonese-style roasted duck or Beijing-style Peking duck, dim sum or dessert. Unsurprisingly, there’s a good cluster around Oakland Chinatown, which tends to lean Cantonese. But you’ll also find gems in Alameda, Berkeley, Fremont, and El Cerrito.

The good thing, of course, is that much of the food is built for takeout and delivery, which means that the 26 restaurants on this list have been able to continue to feed the community even through the toughest stretches of the coronavirus pandemic.

Looking for Chinese food in San Francisco? Here you go.

As of publication time, some of these restaurants offer seated, outdoor dining. However, their inclusion should not be taken as endorsement for sit-down dining, as there are still safety concerns. Studies indicate that COVID-19 infection rates are lower for outside activities, but the level of risk involved with outdoor dining is contingent on restaurants and their patrons following strict social distancing, face covering, and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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HK Home Kitchen

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Even before COVID, the restaurant never offered much in terms of ambience, but this is the probably the best Hong Kong-style cafe (cha chaan teng) food in the East Bay — especially if you have an affinity for Western-inspired dishes like red-sauce baked pork chop spaghetti. Everything seems like it’s priced a few dollars lower than it ought to be, but the best deals on the menu are the giant platters of thin, crispy chow mein, topped with heaps of vegetables, meat, and seafood.

Baked pork chop and spaghetti with red sauce at HK Home Kitchen Luke Tsai

New Dumpling

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The East Bay has been in need of a high-quality jiaozi, or boiled dumpling, spot, so it’s no surprise that this El Cerrito newcomer has been a hit since day one. The cold appetizers like the sliced pig ears are great, and the scallion pancakes are crisp and wonderfully oily. But the only move here is to order as many of the restaurant’s compact, two-bite dumplings as you might reasonably expect to eat. Fillings are varied and include delightful combinations you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere — zucchini, egg, and shrimp, for example. And the fact that most of the dumplings are also available frozen has been a real boon during the pandemic.

A spread of dumplings and beef noodle soup at New Dumpling Luke Tsai

Noodles Fresh

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As its name suggests, Noodles Fresh specializes in Chinese noodles. The restaurant’s main point of distinction is that it doesn’t have any one regional focus, but instead seeks to introduce diners to a wide array of highly specific regional noodle dishes: Guilin rice noodles, Taiwanese beef noodle soup, and Yunnan “over the bridge” noodles. In particular, it’s one of the only Bay Area restaurants where you’ll find Jiangxi-style rice noodles — toothsome and delicious, especially when served stir-fried with flank steak, peppers, and a fiery chile sauce. The restaurant has a second location in downtown Berkeley.

Saigon Seafood Harbor Restaurant

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Easily the top dim sum restaurant in this stretch of Contra Costa County, Saigon Harbor has been churning out its har gow and steamed rice rolls for takeout during the bulk of this pandemic. The kitchen has a fine touch with fried items like its pork-filled taro puffs, and steamed classics like har gow and siu mai are fresh and plump. The restaurant also has a small outdoor seating area set up in the parking lot for diners who want to do an al fresco dim sum brunch.

takeout dim sum containers Luke Tsai

Daimo Chinese Restaurant

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Located in Richmond’s 99 Ranch plaza, Daimo has long been a late-night favorite among East Bay Chinese food enthusiasts. These days, the restaurant closes a bit earlier (at 11:30 p.m.), but it’s still a good bet for solid, inexpensive Cantonese takeout. Dim sum isn’t really the restaurant’s specialty, so savvy customers stick instead with its strong suits — jook, barbecue rice plates, and, especially, Hong Kong style wonton noodle soup.

Sichuan Style Restaurant

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With a staff and kitchen crew largely made up of defectors from China Village down the street (and a very similar menu), Sichuan Style has arguably surpassed its more well known neighbor when it comes to classic, tongue-numbingly spicy Sichuan fare like water-boiled fish. Standard orders include the fragrant fish fillet soup, surprisingly mild and soothing despite arriving to the table topped with dozens of chili peppers; the wok-charred cabbage; and the big, puffy round of sesame bread.

Water-boiled fish at Sichuan Style Luke Tsai

China Village Restaurant

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Arguably the most respected Sichuan restaurant in the East Bay, China Village is a regular on the Michelin Bib Gourmand list for its technical precision, comfortable dining room, and standouts like the five spice pork shoulder and 1,000 chili pepper fish. During crab season, the mapo tofu whole Dungeness crab is a must-order.

Wojia Hunan Cuisine

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It’s tough to find dishes from the Hunan region in the East Bay, but this Albany newcomer has filled that void beautifully with its menu full of regional specialties like Chairman Mao stewed pork hock. In addition to the characteristically fiery dishes that Hunan is known for, Wojia also delves into the region’s smoky flavors — try the “special fried rice” with smoked pork or the smoky grilled pork chop dusted with cumin and crispy garlic. And the savory fried glutinous rice balls are an immediate showstopper.

Chengdu Style Restaurant

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The UC Berkeley campus’s best bet for Sichuan food delivers on tongue-numbing sensations, but the menu is so long that it can be easy to miss the strongest dishes: The classic water-boiled fish, slippery cold jelly noodle appetizer, dumplings in chili oil, and toothpick cumin lamb are all solid bets. It’s for good reason that, during pre-COVID times, the dining room was always packed with international students from China.

Great China Restaurant

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For big flavors in a sleek, modern setting with an impressive wine list, Great China is an easy choice. The Northern Chinese restaurant also happens to serve the Bay Area’s most amazing Peking duck, with thin pancakes — a surprisingly takeout-friendly offering — as well as juicy dumplings, impeccably cooked greens, and hard-to-find Korean-Chinese specialties like jjajangmyun.

Huangcheng Noodle House 山西刀削面

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Newly reborn after a fire destroyed its original Oakland Chinatown location, Huangcheng specializes in chef Jimmy Huang’s Shaanxi-style knife shaved noodles, which automatically come in just about every noodle soup or dry noodle dish. They’re thick and chewy with slightly wavy edges. Try them in a spicy broth or tossed with pickled mustard greens and pork. For those who can take the heat, the restaurants housemade chile sauce — made from a 100-plus-year-old family recipe — makes everything more delicious.

Baby Cafe

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This kitschy Hong Kong-style cafe offers rice plates, cheesy baked dishes, fried snacks, sandwiches, desserts, and so much more all day every day. Head here for milk tea in the afternoon, accompanied by condensed milk toast or a warm pineapple bun, served with a pat of butter in ice for a satisfying contrast in temperatures and textures.

Gum Kuo

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The menu is unreasonably long at this Chinatown classic for Cantonese comfort food, so stick to the best stuff: congee (with doughnuts, of course), rice noodle rolls, roast pork, and roast duck.

Peony Seafood Restaurant

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One of a small handful of larger banquet halls and dim sum parlors left in Oakland Chinatown, Peony is serving both its dim sum and regular family-style dishes for takeout. The broad menu can be intimidating, but it’s got the kind of kitchen that’s equally comfortable cranking out classic har gow; stylish, modern animal-shaped steamed buns; and, for dinner, big entrees like Cantonese-style scallion and ginger crab.

Classic Guilin Rice Noodles

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More than 20 herbs go into the namesake dish at the Bay Area’s first Guilin-style restaurant, which serves variations on the same staple: slippery rice noodles, peanuts, scallions, garlic, pickled long beans, egg, a soy-herb sauce, and your choice of meat. The indecisive can also order a sampler of five mini bowls.

Rice noodles after mixing at Classic Guilin Rice Noodles Luke Tsai

Eden Silk Road Kabob Noodle Dapanji

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This Chinatown newcomer is part of a small Bay Area chain specializing in the hand-pulled noodles, cumin-spiced kebabs, and stuffed meat pies that are characteristic of Uyghur cuisine. It’s a tiny, barebones spot, the kind of place where you can watch the aunties stretching out the noodles while you contemplate your order. Highlights include the dapanji, or Big Plate Chicken, a hearty Xinjiang dish that cooks of the Uyghur ethnic minority in that region have really gotten down to an art form. The version here features big chunks of meaty, bone-in chicken; soft stewed potatoes; and wonderfully chewy hand-pulled noodles. 

Dapanji, or big plate chicken: a takeout container of bone-in chicken pieces over handmade noodles Luke Tsai

New Gold Medal Restaurant

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This is the most reliably excellent all-purpose Cantonese restaurant in Oakland. It’s open late (albeit not as late during the pandemic), and there are few duds on the menu despite its daunting length. Go here for classics like beef chow fun, crispy Hong Kong-style chow mein, barbecued meats, and shrimp over scrambled egg.

Imperial Soup

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Imperial Soup looks like a basic hole-in-the-wall at first, but its menu is one of the most unique in the East Bay. The restaurant focuses on traditional double-boiled soups with unusual ingredients like deer antler velvet, intended to impart healing benefits. Flavorful rice dishes steamed in lotus leaves are the other specialty here.

This scrappy, no-frills neighborhood lunch spot is the very definition of better than it needs to be, with a short menu of inexpensive rice plates made with fresh ingredients and a whole lot of skill with the wok. It’s probably best known for its Wednesday-only fried chicken special, which routinely draws such a big crowd that requires a little bit of advance planning to order. Another standout is the shrimp over egg (or its variant, the “David Special” — if you know, you know), which — like everything on the menu — goes great with the absurdly delicious house-made black bean hot sauce.

David Special (shrimp, beef, and eggs) at Ben’s Luke Tsai

East Ocean Seafood Restaurant

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Prior to the pandemic, this Cantonese banquet restaurant was always swamped for weekend dim sum, with carts darting by full of siu mai, har gow, turnip cakes, and bao — now all available for takeout. You won’t find anything especially modern or unusual on the menu, but it’s a reliable favorite for the classics.

Wild Ginger

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This little restaurant specializes in Shaanxi and Sichuan flavors, with a refreshingly tight menu of noodles, dumplings, and malatang (a Sichuan street food version of hot pot). Don’t miss the zha jiang and spicy, hand-pulled biang biang noodles. Best of all, nearly everything is less than $10.

88 BaoBao

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The main reason to visit this popular strip mall spot is to load up on some of the juiciest, most delicate xiao long bao in the East Bay. Buns, dumplings, and other snack-y items are the way to go. Other favorites include the equally juicy, crisp-bottomed sheng jian bao and the beef rolls — like meaty, rolled-up scallion pancakes.

Koi Palace - Dublin

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The sister location to the much-acclaimed Daly City dim sum house, Koi Palace is the closest thing the East Bay has to the kind of upscale, modernized, destination dim sum more typically associated with the Peninsula — and, prior to the pandemic, it had the enormous weekend crowds to show for it. Now, the dim sum menu is available for takeout, with both frozen and freshly cooked options. Standards like rice rolls and har gow are done with style and more precise execution here, and, when available, the crispy-skinned roast pig is worth a special trip.

Veggie Lee

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This vegetarian Chinese spot is helmed by a former Daimo chef with serious Cantonese cooking chops, so all the usual mock-meat preparations are a cut above. Dishes like the eggplant with vegan fish steak, the salt-and-pepper pumpkin, and the pan-fried tofu skin are as good as anything you’ll find at any of the area’s omnivore-oriented Chinese restaurants.

Din Ding Dumpling House

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Bay Area diners have gotten so xiao long bao–obsessed that you’ll now find the soup dumplings at dim sum parlors and all kinds of other Chinese restaurants that have no affiliation with the Shanghai region from which they originate. Din Ding isn’t strictly a Shanghainese restaurant either, but it qualifies as a specialist: The handmade XLB here have delicate wrappers that bulge and jiggle from the juices contained within. It’s no wonder, then, that dumpling lovers from miles away make the pilgrimage, especially on the weekend.

Rolling Snack

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Tucked inside a strip mall adjacent to the Newark 99 Ranch, Rolling Snack is one of the only Bay Area restaurants that specializes exclusively in Sichuan-style street food. There aren’t more than a handful of dishes that would qualify as a proper entree. Instead, the menu is divided evenly between various meat parts that are either braised in spicy master stock (e.g. pig ears, duck heads, and bone-in pork shanks) or fried on a skewer and dusted with hot spice. Vegetable skewer options are plentiful, too, and at $.60 or $.70 a pop (for the skewers), even ordering one of everything on the menu is easy on the wallet.

A spread of Sichuan meat skewers on a plate Tommy Cleary

HK Home Kitchen

Baked pork chop and spaghetti with red sauce at HK Home Kitchen Luke Tsai

Even before COVID, the restaurant never offered much in terms of ambience, but this is the probably the best Hong Kong-style cafe (cha chaan teng) food in the East Bay — especially if you have an affinity for Western-inspired dishes like red-sauce baked pork chop spaghetti. Everything seems like it’s priced a few dollars lower than it ought to be, but the best deals on the menu are the giant platters of thin, crispy chow mein, topped with heaps of vegetables, meat, and seafood.

Baked pork chop and spaghetti with red sauce at HK Home Kitchen Luke Tsai

New Dumpling

A spread of dumplings and beef noodle soup at New Dumpling Luke Tsai

The East Bay has been in need of a high-quality jiaozi, or boiled dumpling, spot, so it’s no surprise that this El Cerrito newcomer has been a hit since day one. The cold appetizers like the sliced pig ears are great, and the scallion pancakes are crisp and wonderfully oily. But the only move here is to order as many of the restaurant’s compact, two-bite dumplings as you might reasonably expect to eat. Fillings are varied and include delightful combinations you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere — zucchini, egg, and shrimp, for example. And the fact that most of the dumplings are also available frozen has been a real boon during the pandemic.

A spread of dumplings and beef noodle soup at New Dumpling Luke Tsai

Noodles Fresh

As its name suggests, Noodles Fresh specializes in Chinese noodles. The restaurant’s main point of distinction is that it doesn’t have any one regional focus, but instead seeks to introduce diners to a wide array of highly specific regional noodle dishes: Guilin rice noodles, Taiwanese beef noodle soup, and Yunnan “over the bridge” noodles. In particular, it’s one of the only Bay Area restaurants where you’ll find Jiangxi-style rice noodles — toothsome and delicious, especially when served stir-fried with flank steak, peppers, and a fiery chile sauce. The restaurant has a second location in downtown Berkeley.

Saigon Seafood Harbor Restaurant

takeout dim sum containers Luke Tsai

Easily the top dim sum restaurant in this stretch of Contra Costa County, Saigon Harbor has been churning out its har gow and steamed rice rolls for takeout during the bulk of this pandemic. The kitchen has a fine touch with fried items like its pork-filled taro puffs, and steamed classics like har gow and siu mai are fresh and plump. The restaurant also has a small outdoor seating area set up in the parking lot for diners who want to do an al fresco dim sum brunch.

takeout dim sum containers Luke Tsai

Daimo Chinese Restaurant

Located in Richmond’s 99 Ranch plaza, Daimo has long been a late-night favorite among East Bay Chinese food enthusiasts. These days, the restaurant closes a bit earlier (at 11:30 p.m.), but it’s still a good bet for solid, inexpensive Cantonese takeout. Dim sum isn’t really the restaurant’s specialty, so savvy customers stick instead with its strong suits — jook, barbecue rice plates, and, especially, Hong Kong style wonton noodle soup.

Sichuan Style Restaurant

Water-boiled fish at Sichuan Style Luke Tsai

With a staff and kitchen crew largely made up of defectors from China Village down the street (and a very similar menu), Sichuan Style has arguably surpassed its more well known neighbor when it comes to classic, tongue-numbingly spicy Sichuan fare like water-boiled fish. Standard orders include the fragrant fish fillet soup, surprisingly mild and soothing despite arriving to the table topped with dozens of chili peppers; the wok-charred cabbage; and the big, puffy round of sesame bread.

Water-boiled fish at Sichuan Style Luke Tsai

China Village Restaurant

Arguably the most respected Sichuan restaurant in the East Bay, China Village is a regular on the Michelin Bib Gourmand list for its technical precision, comfortable dining room, and standouts like the five spice pork shoulder and 1,000 chili pepper fish. During crab season, the mapo tofu whole Dungeness crab is a must-order.

Wojia Hunan Cuisine

It’s tough to find dishes from the Hunan region in the East Bay, but this Albany newcomer has filled that void beautifully with its menu full of regional specialties like Chairman Mao stewed pork hock. In addition to the characteristically fiery dishes that Hunan is known for, Wojia also delves into the region’s smoky flavors — try the “special fried rice” with smoked pork or the smoky grilled pork chop dusted with cumin and crispy garlic. And the savory fried glutinous rice balls are an immediate showstopper.

Chengdu Style Restaurant

The UC Berkeley campus’s best bet for Sichuan food delivers on tongue-numbing sensations, but the menu is so long that it can be easy to miss the strongest dishes: The classic water-boiled fish, slippery cold jelly noodle appetizer, dumplings in chili oil, and toothpick cumin lamb are all solid bets. It’s for good reason that, during pre-COVID times, the dining room was always packed with international students from China.

Great China Restaurant

For big flavors in a sleek, modern setting with an impressive wine list, Great China is an easy choice. The Northern Chinese restaurant also happens to serve the Bay Area’s most amazing Peking duck, with thin pancakes — a surprisingly takeout-friendly offering — as well as juicy dumplings, impeccably cooked greens, and hard-to-find Korean-Chinese specialties like jjajangmyun.

Huangcheng Noodle House 山西刀削面

Newly reborn after a fire destroyed its original Oakland Chinatown location, Huangcheng specializes in chef Jimmy Huang’s Shaanxi-style knife shaved noodles, which automatically come in just about every noodle soup or dry noodle dish. They’re thick and chewy with slightly wavy edges. Try them in a spicy broth or tossed with pickled mustard greens and pork. For those who can take the heat, the restaurants housemade chile sauce — made from a 100-plus-year-old family recipe — makes everything more delicious.

Baby Cafe

This kitschy Hong Kong-style cafe offers rice plates, cheesy baked dishes, fried snacks, sandwiches, desserts, and so much more all day every day. Head here for milk tea in the afternoon, accompanied by condensed milk toast or a warm pineapple bun, served with a pat of butter in ice for a satisfying contrast in temperatures and textures.

Gum Kuo

The menu is unreasonably long at this Chinatown classic for Cantonese comfort food, so stick to the best stuff: congee (with doughnuts, of course), rice noodle rolls, roast pork, and roast duck.

Peony Seafood Restaurant

One of a small handful of larger banquet halls and dim sum parlors left in Oakland Chinatown, Peony is serving both its dim sum and regular family-style dishes for takeout. The broad menu can be intimidating, but it’s got the kind of kitchen that’s equally comfortable cranking out classic har gow; stylish, modern animal-shaped steamed buns; and, for dinner, big entrees like Cantonese-style scallion and ginger crab.

Classic Guilin Rice Noodles