Shooting Star Cafe
1068 Webster St
Oakland, CA 94607
Last weekend two friends I was hanging out with mentioned that there was a Hong Kong style cafe (茶餐廳) in Chinatown Oakland. Both of them recommended it as of the restaurants I should go to as I moved to the Bay Area. I was caught by surprise as I thought Hong Kong style cafes were only situated in the San Gabriel Valley or the San Francisco peninsula, as I rarely saw them elsewhere. Given this epiphany,, I didn’t wait until I moved and immediately made a beeline to eat there the next day after my organization’s staff retreat. I grabbed a few coworkers too in hopes that I could also give them a little taste of the comfort Cantonese and Hong Kong style interpretations of American/British cuisine I grew up with.
Once I grabbed a table I immediately browsed the lengthy menu. Not only did they have about 30 or so set meal choices that Hong Kong style cafes are known for (usually a rice or noodle dish with soup and a beverage), but also a rather lengthy a la carte menu with items ranging from Chinese vegetables to western zodiac themed alcoholic drinks. It took us a little while to decide, but I ended up ordering the following:
- Hainanese Chicken Rice – The chicken was poached nicely and the rice was flavorful, but not too oily, from the rendered chicken juices it was cooked in. The picked cabbage helped cut the oil nicely and the peanuts were a nice added crunch. However the chicken was perhaps slightly too bony for my liking.
- Stir Fried String Beans – The string means and minced pork were cooked pretty well with a nice “wok hay” (as in, the fresh and hot wok flavor). It might have been slightly too oily, but all in all it was well and reminded me of my mom’s version.
- Hong Kong Style Milk Tea (Iced) – This was a pretty good version, albeit slightly sweeter than normal meaning that it was more milk heavy. It was not a bad thing given the flavors of the other items but I might have preferred more tea flavor.
- Russian Soup – I found this to be a pretty good version. It was not too sweet or sour and had a nice subtle hint of spice (likely paprika). I still prefer my family’s version but still something I wouldn’t mind eating/drinking again!
After that visit I came again on Wednesday as a quick lunch pit stop on the way to SFO. This time I got the following:
- Curry Beef Stew – The beef stew portion was maybe slightly smaller than I had hoped, but nonetheless was very tasty. The beef brisket was very tender and the sauce was not too thick and just had the right about of slight spice for a Chinese style curry. It also had some onions, carrots, and potatoes as vegetable fillers which was done nicely, though I had hoped for a little more vegetable or non meat items. The meal also came with a side of pork and watercress “homemade” soup which I loved!
All in all I was very glad that my friends told me about the place! It was pretty good and I am so delighted to have this option for lunches or dinners when I move to the Bay Area next month. I don’t expect the food to hold up to what I’m eating in Hong Kong but it’ll be a pretty good holdover until my next trip, whenever that may be.