7:30 p.m. Saturday: Best Vietnamese Food

May Hong

Two-thirds of the Vietnamese restaurants in the East Bay specialize in pho, bun, and hu thieu — the hot and cold noodle dishes eaten for breakfast and lunch all over Vietnam. You can tell, because these joints are packed with Southeast Asian folks during the day and everyone else at night. May Hong, on the outskirts of Oakland’s Chinatown, serves noodles during the day, too, but the best stuff comes out of the kitchen at night: Sweet and sour hot pots, tamarind-dusted fried prawns, lotus-shoot salads, catfish claypots, whole roasted crab. The service can feel like the family table (read: unnervingly casual) but the food tastes good enough for jacket and tie. Here’s a Vietnamese restaurant where you want to — in fact, you should — plop down some bucks. But it’s still undiscovered, so there’s never a wait, even during the busiest weekend dinner times.

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