Nostalgic Noodles and Tom Yum Soup

Even for a family that doesn’t emphasize greatly on traditions, we still have our tendencies when it comes to food options. They seem to sprout and trend throughout the years. Good becomes great and then a stapled fall-back; this has especially been evident during visits back home.

For my brother, Gum Kuo Restaurant (always referred to as that small wonton noodle, Hong Kong BBQ shop in the Oakland Plaza) is his most cherished spot since junior high. Not exactly in the hippest location, but there’s something about the raw, rugged concrete building with hanging pork and weird animal parts before a glass window that screams: good, authentic and trustworthy (at least in taste). They did remodel and spruce up the rustic look in the recent past. Walls are saturated in color, menus aren’t peeling apart. Their wonton noodle soup? Still the same, brother-approved.

{Filler image until I can find one from Gum Kuo. Brother, send me one!}

Photo credit: Hoishan Chan

Curly egg noodles, juicy pork and shrimp-stuffed wontons quickly boiled in good ole’ dumpling broth is nothing short of a classic.

Photo credit: Joey L.

Most people on Yelp rave about their Jook or Congee (Chinese diluted porridge), which looks undoubtedly scrumptious.

Photo credit: Daisy T.

Second best, in my opinion, would be the Rice-wrapped Chinese donuts. The rice noodle-based wrap is sticky, chewy, wiggly because it’s so hot and fresh. Swaddle a Chinese donut (long fried dough) with it and it’s carb on carb perfection.

For my mom and I, specifically when we’re in San Francisco, it’s Tom Yum Soup and glass noodles or with rice or as is from Bangkok Noodles. A small, narrow piece of real estate on one of the city’s busiest sidewalks filled with tourists and local shoppers, Bangkok Noodles is supreme because it’s quick, sit-down Thai food made by lightning-fast chefs crafting each dish on over-exposed flames and bowl-sized ladles. The kitchen is almost half the size of the entire space vertically. Seating is congested and service is concise but for these kinds of places, the taste of food overrides all.

{below} A lighter version with clear broth, hockey puck-shaped soft tofu and glass noodles.


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