Secret Eats

Lin Jia’s Marcia Lam on Neighborhood Faves



     Lin Jia Asian Kitchen draws inspiration from all over Asia, from its popular Hong Kong–style walnut shrimp to its puckishly named “KFC (Korean fried chicken)” to its street-food-savvy “Hanoi Snackers” fries. And in a way, the menu reflects owner Marcia Lam’s personal family diaspora. 
     Her clan’s saga started in the Hakka area of China, a region known for its cooks’ vegetable-preserving and tofu-making skills. Lam’s great-grandfather traveled to and resettled in Vietnam before his descendants eventually made their way to the United States.
      And now with Lam’s father, Hoa, assuming the chef’s toque in Lin Jia’s kitchen and overseeing the menu, the family seems to have found a sweet spot at Lakeshore and Mandana. Lin Jia, much like the Lams, can’t be fenced in by anything as changeable as national borders: Instead it finds its own kind of bliss among an array of favorite dishes from around Asia. Stir in contemporary NorCal ingredients such as free-range chicken and Niman Ranch beef — found in the restaurant’s Lin Jia chicken and Changsha beef, respectively — and you might think Lam has found a recipe for success. 
     Still, the restaurateur says her people remain on the move, ever-searching: “We are always scouring the farmers market for the freshest produce.  Watch out for our seasonal menu change.” And watch for the “April Fool’s Menu,” as she calls it — perhaps you can get a sneak preview of the unexpected if you happen upon Lam at one of her Oakland faves. 

I love the energy at this place as well as watching the chefs make my food. Love their steak and fries.
542 Grand Ave., (510) 452-9500,

The Terrace Room at Lake Merritt Hotel
This place has a great view of Lake Merritt, and their food is consistently good. I think they have the best burger and steak.
1800 Madison St.,  (510) 903-3771,

YaYu Ethiopian Restaurant 
Great place for some authentic Ethiopian food. Love the flavors.
3343 Lakeshore Ave., (510) 465-9298,

Holy Land Restaurant
This place gives generous portions — delicious homemade food. You leave the place with such good feeling. 
677 Rand Ave., (510) 272-0535, 

Gum Kuo Restaurant
If you like porridge (congee), this is it. I love their fish congee!
388 Ninth St., Suite 182, (510) 268-1288

Lin Jia Asian Kitchen, 3437 Lakeshore Ave., (510) 835-8322,


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