It has been a year and half since we moved to East Bay. We found that its Asian population is increasing and discovered Chinese communities in East Bay. There are Asian food groceries, Japanese one-dollar shops, and a Chinese/Vietnamese/Thai restaurant, named Marina Mall, in the Union City mall. Our general contractor, who repaired our house right after we purchased it, told us about a restaurant that served homemade northeastern Chinese cuisine. The restaurant name is “Little Shen Yang.” Because the mall is located near a college, lots of students and young people seem to eat lunch in this restaurant.
The mall has two entrances, one off Alvarado-Nile Road and the other off Decoto Road. The restaurant is located in the deepest part of the mall. Since she was originally from AnShan-shi, which is close to Shen Yang, Mainland China, my wife was very interested in Little Shen Yang. There were two northeastern China-style food restaurants in the Peninsula, and we tried them, but all were bad experiences: my wife either did not like the restaurant because it served general, not authentic, Chinese foods, or we found that the restaurant had gone out of business due to too much competition.
One weekend, my wife and I went to Little Shen Yang for the first time. It is a relatively small restaurant with minimal decoration in the dining area. We noticed from the outside that the menu items were hand written on colored paper and hung on every wall. Although I could not understand exactly what they were, since they were all written in Chinese, the additional menus excited my wife.
I decided to leave all the choices to my wife, since I had no clue about what the additional menu items were. She ordered three dishes. The first one was a pan-fried Chinese style cake made from wheat floor. The second was Chinese cabbage sour soup with meatballs in it. The third one consisted of shredded beef with green onions. Later, she additionally ordered sweet and sour fish and fried pork, Japanese Tempura style.
The cake was lightly salted and freshly baked. We finished the first round in about 10 minutes and ended up ordering the next dish. Cabbage soup with meatballs was the one which made my wife jump up and down inside the restaurant, as she loved it a lot. She told me it was her first time to taste an authentic northeast-style soup since she left China. The dish of shredded beef with green onions was the one I liked the most and would highly recommend. Sweet Chinese sauce was similar to Teriyaki sauce and the tender shredded beef was superb. The pork tempura was crispy and fresh. It was better than a similar meal served in any Japanese restaurant.
Since we ordered much more food than we could eat in the restaurant, we took home about half of the food. When we reheated the food at dinnertime, we found that it was as good and fresh as it was in the restaurant. We had never experienced some take-away meal taste so good like this one did. We still go to this restaurant at least once every week if not more often.