clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

21 Soul-Nourishing Restaurants in Oakland Chinatown

Where to get the best egg tarts, jook, and barbecue rice plates

View as Map

The coronavirus crisis has taken a significant toll on America’s Chinatowns, where restaurants and bakeries suffered major financial losses weeks before the rest of the country started hunkering down. Still, in Oakland, many of the staples of the neighborhood — the jook shops, the Hong Kong-style cafes, and the handmade noodle specialists — have powered through the shutdown, staying open to feed the community, even in a limited takeout capacity.

If you’ve been craving Chinese takeout (or perhaps ramen or banh mi), these 21 spots have got you covered.

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.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Battambang

Copy Link

One of just a handful of Cambodian food spots in the East Bay, Battambang offers proof that Chinatown isn’t just about the Chinese food — and hasn’t been since this family-run restaurant first arrived in the neighborhood in the early ‘90s. The menu has a number of Thai standards too, but you’ll serve yourself well if you stick to the Cambodian dishes: the smoky soft-cooked eggplant and the amok trei — catfish steamed inside a banana leaf with lemongrass curry.

Ruby King Bakery Cafe

Copy Link

The East Bay’s king of egg tarts — with the flakiest crust and the most quivery custard — is open after an extended hiatus at the beginning of shelter in place. It’s open for takeout from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

New Gold Medal Restaurant

Copy Link

The Chinatown standby is no longer a destination for 2 a.m. jook runs — its new hours during the shelter-in-place order are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. But New Gold Medal is still the go-to spot for classic Cantonese cooking: dry-fried beef chow fun, pork-and-century-egg jook, barbecue rice plates, and shrimp over scrambled egg.

Tian Jin Dumplings

Copy Link

It’s been years since Tian Jin Dumplings sold actual dumplings (a shame because they were tops in the city, bar none), but this little takeout booth is still cranking out the Northern Chinese breakfast of champions known as jian bing — an enormous egg-wrapped crepe brushed with soybean paste and chili sauce, then stuffed with fried crullers and pickled mustard stems. They’re also selling wonton soup, tea eggs, and house-made soy milk, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every day but Tuesdays.

Eden Silk Road

Copy Link

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 — at least pre-COVID — you could watch the aunties stretching out the noodles while you contemplated your order. Highlights include the dapanji, or Big Plate Chicken, a hearty Xinjiang dish that features big chunks of bone-in chicken, soft stewed potatoes, and chewy hand-pulled noodles.

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

Imperial Soup

Copy Link

This somewhat inconspicuous storefront on Webster Street specializes in traditional Cantonese double-boiled soups, all chock full of Chinese medicinal herbs with a range of purported health benefits — and, more to the point, all delicious. The restaurant also sells flavorful rice dishes that are steamed inside of lotus leaves. Call in to order takeout, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. It’s also taking delivery orders via the Hungry Panda app.

Chuan Yu

Copy Link

Chuan Yu opened during the pandemic and immediately built up a following for its traditional, and appropriately fiery, Sichuan and Hunan dishes — everything from classic water-boiled fish to harder-to-find specialties like a chile-laden plate of stir-fried chicken cartilage. This is the place to go to if you want Sichuan malatang or dry pot, both variants on a numbingly spicy hot pot meal.

Gum Kuo

Copy Link

Tucked inside the Pacific Renaissance Plaza, Gum Kuo has three specialties: jook (or rice porridge), steamed rice rolls, and Cantonese-style roast meats, all at an exceedingly budget-friendly price. They’re currently open for takeout — call in from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Sobo Ramen

Copy Link

Oakland Chinatown’s most prominent ramen destination is known for serving a wide range of styles — it’s one of the only spots in the East Bay where you can score a bowl of tsukemen, the trendy cold dipping noodle style. They’re currently open for takeout for dinner only, 5 to 9 p.m. daily. Call in or order online.

The Sweet Booth

Copy Link

Chinatown has no shortage of boba spots, but the Sweet Booth has been a mainstay since the ‘90s. The shop is known for using actual fruit (as opposed to powdered mixes), blended to order, in all of its fruit-based smoothies and tea drinks. The delicious “pearl taro” — with a scoop of vanilla ice cream blended in for good measure — is like a meal unto itself. During shelter in place, the shop is open for takeout from noon to 6 p.m. daily.

C & M Bistro

Copy Link

Prominently located on the ground level of the Pacific Renaissance Plaza, C & M is your all-purpose Cantonese lunch spot with a broad menu of rice plates, roasted meats, and noodle soups. It’s currently open for takeout from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily.

Peony Seafood Restaurant

Copy Link

One of a small handful of big banquet halls and dim sum parlors left in Oakland Chinatown, Peony made waves when it closed down very early on in the coronavirus crisis. It’s since reopened for takeout, from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily, with both dim sum and regular family-style dishes available.

Nature Vegetarian Restaurant

Copy Link

One of the East Bay’s foremost practitioners of Buddhist Chinese vegetarian fare, Nature Vegetarian has been pleasing vegans and omnivores alike for the past decade. The restaurant makes all of the faux meats that form the base of the menu in-house — a process that yields a particularly delicious take on sesame chicken. Any dish with eggplant or tofu is likely to be a winner, including several clay pot dishes.

St. Anna Cafe Shop

Copy Link

Perhaps the maker of the best Hong Kong-style milk tea in the neighborhood, St. Anna is your typical Hong Kong cha chaan teng cafe, with a mix of Chinese and Western dishes — rice noodle plates, but also egg sandwiches and pork chop spaghetti. Call in for takeout from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. every day except Tuesdays.

Cam Anh

Copy Link

Cam Anh took over the space previously occupied by another popular, longstanding banh mi shop, Cam Huong, last year, and it’s still cranking out some of the neighborhood’s best sandwiches during the shelter in place, with a couple of tofu banh mi options for vegetarians to boot.

Ming's Tasty

Copy Link

Open in the old Fortune space, this relative newcomer has been doing a particularly good job of serving dim sum — affordable, tasty dim sum — to the people during the pandemic. Ming’s has emerged as a reliable favorite for all the classics: The barbecue pork buns (both steamed and baked versions) and pan-fried turnip cakes are especially solid.

Baby Cafe

Copy Link

This fashionable Hong Kong style cafe has the kind of long, eclectic menu that’s typical of this restaurant genre, with traditional dishes like steamed rice rolls and Hainan chicken rice supplemented by unique offerings, like the crispy, stew-filled “rice cubes.” (The restaurant also has an Emeryville location, which is currently closed.)

Shooting Star Cafe

Copy Link

Oakland Chinatown’s most popular late-night hangout has scaled back its hours slightly, but the Hong Kong-style cafe is still open for takeout from 8 a.m. to midnight every day. The menu ranges freely from Macau-style pork chop sandwiches and baked red-sauce spaghetti to mix-and-match noodle soups. The desserts (and the waffle-like Hong Kong-style egg puffs in particular) are especially popular.

Shan Dong

Copy Link

Shan Dong is known for two things: dumplings and handmade noodles — in particular the “hot and spicy chow mein,” which you should definitely request with those thick, toothsome handmade noodles. The restaurant is open for takeout and delivery (via third-party app). It’s also selling frozen dumplings, $28 for a bag of 50.

Tastee Steam Kitchen

Copy Link

Probably best known as the spot where you steam fresh seafood at the table, sometimes when it’s still alive, Tastee isn’t offering its signature family-style “steam pot” cooking during the shelter in place, but it is selling individual-portion hot pot and various grilled and fried appetizers to go. Call in to order.

Classic Guilin Rice Noodles

Copy Link

This Chinatown spot was one of the first places on the West Coast to introduce U.S. diners to the pleasures of its namesake dish — a beguiling, texturally pleasing mix of slippery rice noodles, roasted peanuts, pickled vegetables, meat, and broth. The restaurant is currently open for takeout for lunch only, Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (though they open a half hour earlier on weekends). Call in or walk up to order.

Rice noodles after mixing at Classic Guilin Rice Noodles Luke Tsai

Battambang

One of just a handful of Cambodian food spots in the East Bay, Battambang offers proof that Chinatown isn’t just about the Chinese food — and hasn’t been since this family-run restaurant first arrived in the neighborhood in the early ‘90s. The menu has a number of Thai standards too, but you’ll serve yourself well if you stick to the Cambodian dishes: the smoky soft-cooked eggplant and the amok trei — catfish steamed inside a banana leaf with lemongrass curry.

Ruby King Bakery Cafe

The East Bay’s king of egg tarts — with the flakiest crust and the most quivery custard — is open after an extended hiatus at the beginning of shelter in place. It’s open for takeout from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

New Gold Medal Restaurant

The Chinatown standby is no longer a destination for 2 a.m. jook runs — its new hours during the shelter-in-place order are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. But New Gold Medal is still the go-to spot for classic Cantonese cooking: dry-fried beef chow fun, pork-and-century-egg jook, barbecue rice plates, and shrimp over scrambled egg.

Tian Jin Dumplings

It’s been years since Tian Jin Dumplings sold actual dumplings (a shame because they were tops in the city, bar none), but this little takeout booth is still cranking out the Northern Chinese breakfast of champions known as jian bing — an enormous egg-wrapped crepe brushed with soybean paste and chili sauce, then stuffed with fried crullers and pickled mustard stems. They’re also selling wonton soup, tea eggs, and house-made soy milk, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every day but Tuesdays.

Eden Silk Road

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

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 — at least pre-COVID — you could watch the aunties stretching out the noodles while you contemplated your order. Highlights include the dapanji, or Big Plate Chicken, a hearty Xinjiang dish that features big chunks of bone-in chicken, soft stewed potatoes, and chewy hand-pulled noodles.

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

Imperial Soup

This somewhat inconspicuous storefront on Webster Street specializes in traditional Cantonese double-boiled soups, all chock full of Chinese medicinal herbs with a range of purported health benefits — and, more to the point, all delicious. The restaurant also sells flavorful rice dishes that are steamed inside of lotus leaves. Call in to order takeout, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. It’s also taking delivery orders via the Hungry Panda app.

Chuan Yu

Chuan Yu opened during the pandemic and immediately built up a following for its traditional, and appropriately fiery, Sichuan and Hunan dishes — everything from classic water-boiled fish to harder-to-find specialties like a chile-laden plate of stir-fried chicken cartilage. This is the place to go to if you want Sichuan malatang or dry pot, both variants on a numbingly spicy hot pot meal.

Gum Kuo

Tucked inside the Pacific Renaissance Plaza, Gum Kuo has three specialties: jook (or rice porridge), steamed rice rolls, and Cantonese-style roast meats, all at an exceedingly budget-friendly price. They’re currently open for takeout — call in from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Sobo Ramen

Oakland Chinatown’s most prominent ramen destination is known for serving a wide range of styles — it’s one of the only spots in the East Bay where you can score a bowl of tsukemen, the trendy cold dipping noodle style. They’re currently open for takeout for dinner only, 5 to 9 p.m. daily. Call in or order online.

The Sweet Booth

Chinatown has no shortage of boba spots, but the Sweet Booth has been a mainstay since the ‘90s. The shop is known for using actual fruit (as opposed to powdered mixes), blended to order, in all of its fruit-based smoothies and tea drinks. The delicious “pearl taro” — with a scoop of vanilla ice cream blended in for good measure — is like a meal unto itself. During shelter in place, the shop is open for takeout from noon to 6 p.m. daily.

C & M Bistro

Prominently located on the ground level of the Pacific Renaissance Plaza, C & M is your all-purpose Cantonese lunch spot with a broad menu of rice plates, roasted meats, and noodle soups. It’s currently open for takeout from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily.

Peony Seafood Restaurant

One of a small handful of big banquet halls and dim sum parlors left in Oakland Chinatown, Peony made waves when it closed down very early on in the coronavirus crisis. It’s since reopened for takeout, from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily, with both dim sum and regular family-style dishes available.

Nature Vegetarian Restaurant

One of the East Bay’s foremost practitioners of Buddhist Chinese vegetarian fare, Nature Vegetarian has been pleasing vegans and omnivores alike for the past decade. The restaurant makes all of the faux meats that form the base of the menu in-house — a process that yields a particularly delicious take on sesame chicken. Any dish with eggplant or tofu is likely to be a winner, including several clay pot dishes.

St. Anna Cafe Shop

Perhaps the maker of the best Hong Kong-style milk tea in the neighborhood, St. Anna is your typical Hong Kong cha chaan teng cafe, with a mix of Chinese and Western dishes — rice noodle plates, but also egg sandwiches and pork chop spaghetti. Call in for takeout from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. every day except Tuesdays.

Cam Anh

Cam Anh took over the space previously occupied by another popular, longstanding banh mi shop, Cam Huong, last year, and it’s still cranking out some of the neighborhood’s best sandwiches during the shelter in place, with a couple of tofu banh mi options for vegetarians to boot.

Related Maps

Ming's Tasty

Open in the old Fortune space, this relative newcomer has been doing a particularly good job of serving dim sum — affordable, tasty dim sum — to the people during the pandemic. Ming’s has emerged as a reliable favorite for all the classics: The barbecue pork buns (both steamed and baked versions) and pan-fried turnip cakes are especially solid.

Baby Cafe

This fashionable Hong Kong style cafe has the kind of long, eclectic menu that’s typical of this restaurant genre, with traditional dishes like steamed rice rolls and Hainan chicken rice supplemented by unique offerings, like the crispy, stew-filled “rice cubes.” (The restaurant also has an Emeryville location, which is currently closed.)

Shooting Star Cafe

Oakland Chinatown’s most popular late-night hangout has scaled back its hours slightly, but the Hong Kong-style cafe is still open for takeout from 8 a.m. to midnight every day. The menu ranges freely from Macau-style pork chop sandwiches and baked red-sauce spaghetti to mix-and-match noodle soups. The desserts (and the waffle-like Hong Kong-style egg puffs in particular) are especially popular.

Shan Dong

Shan Dong is known for two things: dumplings and handmade noodles — in particular the “hot and spicy chow mein,” which you should definitely request with those thick, toothsome handmade noodles. The restaurant is open for takeout and delivery (via third-party app). It’s also selling frozen dumplings, $28 for a bag of 50.

Tastee Steam Kitchen

Probably best known as the spot where you steam fresh seafood at the table, sometimes when it’s still alive, Tastee isn’t offering its signature family-style “steam pot” cooking during the shelter in place, but it is selling individual-portion hot pot and various grilled and fried appetizers to go. Call in to order.

Classic Guilin Rice Noodles

Rice noodles after mixing at Classic Guilin Rice Noodles Luke Tsai

This Chinatown spot was one of the first places on the West Coast to introduce U.S. diners to the pleasures of its namesake dish — a beguiling, texturally pleasing mix of slippery rice noodles, roasted peanuts, pickled vegetables, meat, and broth. The restaurant is currently open for takeout for lunch only, Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (though they open a half hour earlier on weekends). Call in or walk up to order.

Rice noodles after mixing at Classic Guilin Rice Noodles Luke Tsai

Related Maps