|Salty beef and crispy pork noodles, broth on the side|
Thanks to BART, I can get from home to Oakland's Chinatown faster than I can to the Richmond or Sunset Districts in San Francisco. Nonetheless, it takes a major inducement to get me to venture to the Mysterious East Bay, and today it was the promise of Guilin mi fen (rice noodles) at a new Oakland noodle shop, Classic Guilin Rice Noodles.
I developed a fondness of for Guilin rice noodles in Shanghai (where they're much more easily found than Vietnamese pho), mostly at a "Guilin Mi fen" shop on Wuyi Rd. near Tianshan Tea City, a frequent destination. Until now, there has been no venue specializing in this regional noodle style in the immediate Bay Area; Classic Guilin Rice Noodles, in a corner of the old Good Luck Supermarket building on 10th St. in Oakland's Chinatown, changed all that when it opened at the beginning of September.
When I arrived around 1:30 PM, the front room of CGRN was nearly full, but I managed to find a seat at a two-top by the window (I later discovered there is a spacious rear room as well, which was empty at the time). After perusing the colorful menu, I settled on a combination of salty beef and crispy pork for my toppings, although I had no idea what "crispy pork" was and my server's command of English was hopelessly inadequate to clarify it. (It turned out to be thin, bacon-like slices of pork belly.)
Classic Guilin Rice Noodle's menu consists of a "classic series" composed of five different topping choices (barbecued pork, salty beef, beef brisket, beef tripe, and crispy pork) as well as all possible combinations of two of these items for a total of 15 choices. Noodles with a single topping are $5.50, and $6.50 for combinations. In addition, there is a "Special Rice Noodle Series" composed of just two entries: Spicy Snails Rice Noodle ($6.50), and "Special Small Bowls Rice Noodle" ($8.50). This latter is a service of five small bowls with different toppings, akin to the way Thai boat noodles are sometimes offered.
Also on the menu are a handful of medicinal soups/stews in clay pot ($7.25 each) , and three lotus leaf steamed rice and meat entrees, served with soup and vegetable for $6.50.
|Unseasoned broth on the side|
Overall, Classic Guilin Rice Noodles is a fun place to slurp some fen, and, even after factoring in my Senior citizen BART fare, probably as cheap a bowl of tasty noodles as I'll eat anywhere in the area.
Where slurped: Classic Guilin Rice Noodles, 261 A 10th Street, Oakland Chinatown