388 9th St Ste 182
Oakland, CA 94607
During a recent business trip to Oakland I was in need for a really quick lunch, but also desired a place that serves casual, Cantonese style comfort food. I was guided toward Gum Kuo, a tiny restaurant in Oakland’s Chinatown that serves authentic Cantonese style barbeque. It was exactly what I was looking for, given that Cantonese barbeque rice plates are quick to make (as the roasted meats are already prepared) and quick to eat as well.
I rushed to the restaurant and was seated after about a 5 minute wait. The wait was short given that I told the server in Cantonese that I was totally find sharing a table. Sharing a large table where small parties (typically parties no larger than 3 people) eat during really busy times is fairly common practice. While normally I like my own table, I was in a rush and it’s totally harmless to me sitting next to people I don’t know who are also just eating.
I sat down and immediately order my rice plate, which consisted of roast pork and roast duck. After a few minutes, my teapot came out as well as my food. Normally it would come in a plate, but this time it came in a bowl with some lightly cooked romaine lettuce added as well. The roast pork was absolutely delicious. Unlike other places which gives out short, stubby pieces that have a lot of fat and crispy skin, Gum Kuo sliced theirs long and narrow, giving me a lot of pork, fat, ans skin which was delicious. The roast duck was really fatty, which I normally like, but also made it hard to chew and tear off the bone. The sauce was a good accompaniment rich in animal fat. The romaine lettuce, like all vegetables that line similar plates of meat and rice, were more filler and were cooked very bland.
I can’t really say much for service, given that I was quite in a rush. However, they did respond very quickly with my requests for a tea refill and my check, so that was a plus.
Regardless, I left Gum Kuo very satisfied. Next time, however, I’ll get soy sauce chicken and roast pork and see how it compares. I’ll also get some congee and fried crullers as well, as those generally indicate the excellence of the kitchen in my opinion. If this meal was any indication, I’ll likely not be disappointed.