After buzzing on all that fancy food at the Fabulous Food Festival in San Francisco, we were ready for some good old, homey Chinese food. Besides, Annie wanted to pick up some fresh noodles, won ton and sui gow skins from Yuen Hop Noodle Factory in Oakland (that's for another post or two...). So we drove across the Bay Bridge to Oakland Chinatown.
After picking up the fresh noodles and skins, we drove into the big Asian mall complex at 9th and Franklin. On the ground level, in the breezeway on the Franklin Street side of the complex is Gum Kuo Restaurant.
Gum Kuo Restaurant (Oakland Chinatown)
A friend recommended this place to us a couple of years back. We hardly know anything about Oakland Chinatown, except that it is every bit as bustling as San Francisco, without all the tourists. Most people go to Restaurant Peony, located on the second floor of the complex, for dim sum and Chinese banquets. But people in the know go to Gum Kuo for some of the best won ton noodle soup this side of the Bay. Everytime we come to Oakland, we stop in for a fix.
What makes their won ton noodle soup so good? Firstly, it's the won tons. They don't skimp on the shrimp! No plain old pork-filled dumplings here. They are very generous with the shrimp, and it makes for a savory dumpling packed with sweet, crunchy shrimp.
Won Ton Noodle Soup from Gum Kuo (Oakland)
It's also about the noodles. Their noodles are thin, Hong-Kong style noodles that aren't overboiled. They still have great chew and spring to them. I wonder if they get their noodles fresh from Yuen Hop?
I got the stewed beef brisket and won ton noodle soup. The brisket has been simmering in broth for hours, making it very, very tender. And all that delicious beefy flavor just makes the broth so sweet. Put a little hot chili and oil in there, and you're in heaven! The only thing I wish they'd add would be more choi (green vegetable).
Stewed Beef Brisket and Won Ton Noodle Soup from Gum Kuo (Oakland)
Like many Chinese restaurants, they have a selection of roasted meats hanging in the front window. There were lots of people standing in line to get some char siu, roast chicken, or roast duck to take home. After we finished our meal, Annie bought some of the roast duck heads (4 for a $1!) to take home.
Why? Well, that's for another post of course...