While Chinese restaurants can be found anywhere in America, and family-style multi-course Chinese dinners are as popular as apple pie, there are some very special breakfast-lunch places, usually known only to locals, that break all the popularity records with the loyal following of their patrons. These places serve dim sum—small plates and bamboo steamers of piping hot Cantonese treats—mostly dumplings, stuffed with pork, shrimp, chives, herbs and spices, and accompanied by jasmine or green tea.
Prince Dim Sum House in San Leandro is exactly what it claims to be—the dumplings here are fit for a prince, and the house is always packed with local families and friends.
On the Menu
A full range of traditional dim sum is on the menu at this restaurant, such as shumai—open-at-the-top pork dumplings; har gau—translucent dough purses stuffed with shrimp; cheong fun—meat or vegetarian silky rice noodle rolls; and char siu bao—fluffy steamed buns with savory fillings.
In addition to dozens of steamed, fried, and rolled dumplings, there are other delicacies like fried eggplant in black bean sauce, stuffed with shrimp paste; salt and pepper calamari; pan-fried thin cake; chicken baked in a foil wrapper; turnip and taro dishes, and various tofu combinations. Marinated duck tongues, steamed or pickled chicken feet, beef tripe and pork stomach are also served here.
Congee, or rice porridge—a satisfying morning meal—can be ordered with fish, chicken, beef, pork, preserved egg and even with Geoduck clam or frog. It usually contains some scallions and ginger shavings, and benefits from a little table-top soy sauce, white pepper and chili paste—if you can stand the heat.
On the Dessert Menu
Ever-popular fried sesame seed balls, baked egg custard tarts and mango pudding are not the only stars on the dessert menu. Try for a change a coconut cake, or a green tea and tapioca cake, Chinese donuts in rice rolls, or black grass herb gelatin.
Everything is consistently fresh here, always prepared right before it lands on your table. Another sweet surprise awaits you at the end of the meal, when you see that your bill is much more agreeable than in many other dim sum places.
Prince Dim Sum House is located at 14736 East 14th Street, San Leandro. Open Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, call 510-667-9888, or visit www.princedimsumhouse.com.