Last weekend, Marc and I took Savor Oakland’s Oakland Chinatown Food Tasting and Cultural Walking Tour. We thought, oh it’ll just be food tasting, so maybe we should get breakfast because we assumed the portions would be small. We didn’t, thank goodness! Our taste buds (and bellies) were in for a BIG treat thanks to Co-Founder Carlo Medina who took us to four local restaurants for a sit-down tasting.
Our first stop was Classic Guilin Rice Noodles where we sampled the classic guilin rice noodles of course. I’ve never had this dish before and Marc and I both really enjoyed it (Note the restaurant is franchised, it’s a fast food joint in China).
Our second stop was Banh Cuon Tay Ho. Owner Denise informed us that she uses locally-sourced ingredients “because I care about what we put in our bodies, I eat here too.” You can really taste the freshness of the ingredients in the dishes that she served. Since I’m allergic to shrimp (and there was a vegetarian in the group), she also provided a couple of vegetarian dishes. Man that veggie spring roll was delicious!
Denise is also an avid bicyclist and guess what, if you are too, bring in your helmet and get 10% off your meal! It was also awesome that her coffee beans are from Oakland’s Bicycle Coffee Co. She had us sample her Vietnamese coffee and it was so yum.
Our third stop was Nature’s Vegetarian which I’ve been to before for lunch when I used to work in Oakland. I think Marc said it best when commented, “Is there pork or no pork? Nobody knows!”
By the time we got to Battambang Restaurant, we were stuffed. We were served with a delicious plate of beef salad which was an awesome way to end our day of tasting.
In between the food tastings, Carlo told us about Oakland Chinatown’s historical landmarks and beautiful architectural detail of buildings that I swear we’ve walked past by a gazillion times but never stopped by to appreciate the beauty. We also learned a lot about Chinatown’s history and how it became what it is today.
Marc and I definitely recommend taking one of Savor Oakland;s Food Tours – whether you have friends or family from out-of-town visiting or just because you want to take a stroll down your neighborhood. We had so much fun. The food was delicious and plentiful, we got some exercise in, and we met some really amazing people while learning a bit more about Oakland. We can’t wait to take their Jack London Square tour.