Oakland: Dim Sum at Peony Seafood Restaurant
Originally we headed to Oakland’s Chinatown to try a shop specializing in handmade noodles but sadly they were closed for the holidays. We followed the crowd to a bustling shopping center and decided to go to Peony Seafood Restaurant for dim sum. At the time, I didn’t know it was under new management. It’s very bright and large, reminiscent of dim sum palaces in the San Gabriel Valley. Every time I’ve done dim sum in San Francisco, I always felt cramped– even in Richmond. Now I know why some like Oakland’s Chinatown.
The dim sum carts ladies almost approached our table shyly. I wasn’t used to this. I don’t really have trouble flagging down carts for food but maybe they wanted to give us time to eat the few things we had? In any case, I like having a full table even when there are just the two of us for brunch.
I explained to my friend in Los Angeles, the steamers are all metallic because health inspectors think bamboo is unsanitary. I was happy to see Peony used bamboo to steam their goodies.
At any new dim sum place, I like to get siu mai (pork) and crystal shrimp to start. I couldn’t find a cart with crystal shrimp and settled for another shrimp dumpling.
I thought the siu mai were fine— I like the more traditional (to LA) red roe on top. The orange-brown roe did have a nice pop. I also really liked the shrimp.
I had intended to try the sticky rice that morning but we ended up ordering too much (I like a full table, remember?) and I had to take all of them for breakfast another day. They heated up beautifully and the sticky rice were stuffed with a good assortment of pork and mushroom.
I realized my friend and I have very different dim sum taste. I love egg rolls and will get them every time. These at Peony were awesome. Great shrimp.
She also prefers BBQ pork rice rolls (cheung fun) but I like shrimp. The cart lady didn’t have BBQ pork so I won this round. At first I was bewildered why the rolls were so short but the shrimp were enormous so that made up for it.
The crispy taro (wu goh) were good though not magical.
LA has been making high falutin’ dim sum lately and swapping out the more traditional peanuts for pine nuts in chiu chow fun gor (dumplings). I was happy to see Peony uses traditional peanut. These slightly crunchy dumplings are a favorite of mine.
I didn’t see the steamed chicken feet with sauce I normally get so I opted for these plump ones in soup. If I had any sort of cold going on, this slightly medicinal soup took care of it.
I also liked the spare ribs we ordered. There were so many other things I would have liked to try but maybe I’ll bring a full table of guests to go with the full table of food. Next time.
Peony Seafood Restaurant388 9th St., Ste 288, Oakland, CA 94607 — (510) 286-8866
© The Minty 2014