By Copper Williams
If there’s one thing I love about our region, it’s that we’re never too far from a good meal in one of the most diverse states in the nation. We are so fortunate to encounter a wide variety of different cultures and honored with the unique opportunity to learn from them, to grow with them, and to dine amongst them!
Join us as we shed a little light on some of the incredible cultural hotspots that have spread throughout San Joaquin which originally hailed from the Asian continent. So enjoy our little tour around some of our favorite dining destinations!
Ordering to go? Don’t touch that dial. Seriously, don’t. I know you’re head over heels for your usual Chinese takeout joint, but listen. Isn’t it time you take a chance on some authentically crafted noodles instead of the ones you just know they’re buying at the nearest bulk goods store? That’s right, there’s a word you don’t hear often when it comes to Chinese: authentic. And that’s just what we want to bring to your table. So keep reading, friend.
The jewel of the Oakridge Center in Stockton, Peking‘s friendly atmosphere and design is only trumped by their powerful dining options. If you’re a seafood fan you’ll need to sink your fork into the Hot Braised Fish, definitely one of their spicier menu options with that delectable ginger sauce! 7555 Pacific Ave., Stockton (209) 957-0617
When you think high quality with locality you think of Dave Wong’s in Stockton. Displaying artwork by one of their own talented chefs, their twist in design and exceptional menu options have delighted customers who always come back for more. Look no further than the Lemon Chicken for something tried and true in taste. 2828 W. March Ln., Stockton (209) 951-4152
Packed between two old buildings is an arched entry to one of Stockton’s most well kept secrets. China Village is a hole in the wall by every definition, loaded with a menu of flavorful entrees. Arrive before the dinner rush or you’ll be hard pressed to find a seat and order their popular Sizzling Rice Soup! 935 N. Yosemite St., Stockton (209) 465-2323
Boasting fresh ingredients for their Szechwan, Peking, and Hunan cuisine, Yen Du is the doorway to exceptional flavors and an ambiance that transports its guests far from American shores. Their sensational take on the Chunked Chicken is a definite must try. 702 Porter Ave., Stockton (209) 951-3748
If your doors have been open for over 15 years you definitely know the key ingredients to a foodie’s heart. Tsing Tao can claim their name to fame in Chinese Mandarin cuisine and their popular entree, the Walnut Shrimp. 2339 W. Hammer Ln., Stockton (209) 475-9688
Reach for a menu here and receive the royal treatment. China Palace is well known for their wide range of menu options, fresh seafood, and beautiful décor, having laid claim as host for many a wedding reception and Chinese celebrations. Give their Lemon Chicken a try for something on the sweeter side. 5052 W. Ln., Stockton (209) 955-0888
If you’re a fan of big portions and big flavor you’ll fit in just fine at Mandarin Villa. They’ve got both by the bushel, one dish in particular being their Sizzling Prawns. 2501 N. Tracy Blvd., Tracy (209) 836-1818
The drive to the Dragon Palace is a commitment to your taste buds. This classy establishment situated in Lodi slips you away from all your cares with exceptional staff and menu options like the Pepper Salted Filet Sole. 2314 W. Kettleman Ln., Lodi (209) 333-5252
Only a stone’s throw from University of the Pacific makes Hong Kong Deli a fan-favorite of local students, but it’s that tried and true taste of traditional Chinese cuisine that keep them coming back even after graduation. Give them a whirl and order the Mongolian Beef. 4343 Pacific Ave., Stockton (209) 7701
From the hanging lanterns right down to the flaming Pu Pu Platter, you’ll be downright pleased when you plop into one of the many booths located at East N West Chinese Cuisine. One of the restaurant’s main dishes features their own unique variation on Sweet and Sour Pork. 1139 E. March Ln., Stockton (209) 473-8183
Sushi. Sashimi. Say it with me, now. Sushi. Sashimi. One more time? Suuuushi. Sashiiimiii. Doesn’t that feel good? The words themselves are practically poetry in fishy form. But you know what really is a work of art? It’s found on the plates prepared by chefs in the restaurants we’ve compiled. Check it out and then check in your reservation.
When you dine at Kyodai you’re not just being served a plate of food, but a work of art. Expect colors that pop and your taste buds to swoon. If you haven’t already figured out your order by walking past someone else’s table try out their Red Boy Roll. 5779 Pacific Ave., #115, Stockton (209) 323-5495
Walk through that door and feel your senses spring to life. Mikasa Japanese Bistro takes hearty portions and wholesome flavor, and molds them into entrees that will have your mouth watering. Take, for example, the highly acclaimed DCS Roll. 2610 S. Tracy Blvd., Tracy & 15138 S. Harlan Rd., Lathrop
This is the sort of place you bring someone special on a cold, rainy night when you want to take your date somewhere chic and oh-so-cozy. Enjoy the dimly lit ambiance of CoCoro Japanese Bistro & Sushi Bar and bite into their specialty, the Spicy Crunch Scallop Roll. 2105 Pacific Ave., Stockton (209) 941-6053
Komachi Sushi boasts not only a classy atmosphere, but over 60 different selections in sushi experience. There simply isn’t enough room on the menu to showcase this much awesome, so make sure to ask for something off the beaten path. Our personal favorite? It’s got to be their Flaming Dragon Roll. 307 S. Lower Sacramento Rd., Lodi (209) 334-3131
You’ve gotta love the variety provided by Matsuyama Japanese Restaurant in Lodi. From rolls and unagi, to tempura battered bliss, this joint has got the drop on flavor. If you’re itching for a bite try out the Chirachi. 235 Lakewood Mall, Lodi (209) 368-3888
When you come in to Raw Sushi Bistro, expect a wait. Because everyone in Stockton knows the exceptional cuisine this small, sleek, bistro can concoct. If you’re looking to join their ranks then take on the Sashimi Mix. 10742 Trinity Pkwy., Stockton (209) 954-9729
Long day? Spend your evening with friends at Masa Contemporary Japanese Lounge because the doors won’t be closing anytime soon. They specialize in fresh sushi and a laid-back, contemporary atmosphere, complete with comfy cushion pillows! Relax, unwind, and enjoy their popular Candy Cane Roll. 3819 W. March Ln., Stockton (209) 473-1255
Boasted as the first sushi restaurant in the heart of downtown Stockton, Misaki Sushi & Bar is only a hop, skip and a jump away from the movie theater just next door. The perfect fit for a sit down dinner before catching the next showing. Take on the Spicy Boat and your party will leave full and fulfilled! 222 N. El Dorado St., Stockton (209) 547-1288
Show me to a table and steal our foodie heart, because the rolls at Sho Mi Restaurant have a charm we simply can’t resist. We’ve got to call it for the Spicy Hungry Roll, but our curry loving soul went straight to heaven when it sampled the Katsu Curry. 419 Lincoln Cnt., Stockton (209) 951-3525
Hitting our heart in all the right places is Hazumi Sushi Bar, with simple, but chic interior décor and fly-ball flavor in their sushi rolls. Their Shinobi Roll hits the spot in spice and also brings a little asparagus onto our dinner plate. 550 S. Cherokee Ln. Ste. H., Lodi (209) 334-9988
Parked in the Morada Ranch is a joint that’s perfect for lunchtime get-togethers. Toyo Sushi is your spot if you’re in the mood for some sashimi in a laid-back, casual atmosphere. If rolls are more your thing you’ve got to tip your chopsticks toward a Crazy Monkey, but only if you can take a little heat.
This charming, family owned restaurant was made for lunch and dinner time crowds as their afternoon and evening hours can attest. Pop in Yume Japanese Cuisine and try their fried oysters for an essential appetizer, but stay for the Crunchy Rainbow Roll. Get there early, this place fills up fast! 2401 W. Turner Rd. # 222 Lodi (209) 224-5169
Hana Sushi is hip, happening and ready to rock your rolls with décor that drops you into Japan and keeps you there with their authentic cuisine. We may be Gaijin, but we’ve got to say, the Nigiri Combo has got us going back for seconds. 1101 E. March Ln., Stockton (209) 477-1667
When you’re taking a stroll through Weberstown Mall don’t settle for a burger and coke. Go bold. Go for Noma Sushi & Grill, where their classy aesthetics melt so well with their abundant menu. Ready to drop by? Then put your order in for their popular Iron Man Roll. 4950 Pacific Ave., Ste. # 301 Stockton (209) 472-7152
Japanese with a Teppanyaki Table Twist!
I’m pretty confident we’ve got your attention after what you’ve read so far. But, just in case, let’s show you a little more about what this island nation can do with a grill and a little imagination. Word of advice? Before you head out to one of the restaurants we’ve listed, bring your camera because the show begins right after you put in your order.
This little showstopper in the Lincoln Center is well known for its spacious interior and modern design, with Teppanyaki tables galore. Domo Japanese Restaurant chefs are very accommodating and have a flair for what they do. If you’re coming in with a big appetite go for the Shrimp & Scallops. 300 Lincoln Cntr., Stockton (209) 451-3654
Turn up the heat, because the grills are burning for your business and you better believe that the food will be as outstanding as the performance. Get your dinner started at Shi Ra Soni Japenese Sushi & Steakhouse with the flavorful Garlic Rice and a Happy Roll for happy times! 3249 W. Hammer Ln., Stockton (209) 473-2525
Shi Ra Soni 2 Japanese Seafood knows how to bring out the flavor in their food as many return guests can claim! Their chefs make a mean Karate Chop and those at the Teppanyaki tables have a knack for concocting a perfect blend of entertainment and fine dining! 1420 W. Kettleman Ln., # M Lodi (209) 366-2525
Mix it up, my friends! Yukimi has the grill ready and waiting for your order! Their Steak and Chicken Plate is definitely a to-dine-for delight, while those looking for a little tang can appreciate the Teriyaki Chicken. 1242 W. Lathrop Rd., Manteca (209) 239-7527
The spice of life is always close at hand when you’re taking a trip to a local Thai restaurant. Whether you’re intrigued by the flavor of flames or anxious for some of that sensational blend of tea we all love and yet secretly despise for its calorie count, you’re good to go for great dinner joints.
When you’re rolling up Pacific and must have your Thai fix you go to Royal Siam. There you’ll find not only exceptional service, but terrific lighting across marvelous décor. Oh, and let’s not exclude the food here, which features one of their spectacular entrees, the Spicy Garlic Fish. 6124 Pacific Ave., Stockton (209) 323-4557
Let us tell you this. There’s a reason why “spices” is in this restaurant’s name. Creators of a stupendous variety of authentic recipes, Thai Spices has given us more than one reason to drop back by. Their biggest (in our opinion) being the Thai Teriyaki Chicken. 2401 W. Turner Rd., #224 Lodi (209) 369-8424
Elegance pops from every corner of this little piece of paradise. Siamese Street Thai Restaurant has built quite the following with such dishes as their Sweet Basil Noodles. Take it up and don’t be afraid to make a few adjustments to your meal, they’ll see to it you enjoy your experience. 3236 Pacific Ave., Stockton (209) 466-0130
Places like Tracy Thai set the standard for high quality Thai cuisine. Paired with wooden panels and the earthy atmosphere they’ve created, meals like the Yellow Curry Chicken help lift your spirits and fill you right back up! 1035 N. Central Ave., Tracy (209) 833-9703
Don’t you just love it when you try someplace off the beaten path and find a new favorite? That’s how we fell in love with the gem, Thai Café, located near downtown Tracy. Their Salad Kai has brought in a bundle of fans. 614 N. Central Ave., Tracy (209) 832-3200
Hearty portions await you at Bangkok Restaurant, along with an ambiance fit for a romantic evening or a dinner with friends and family. Check them out and take a bite out of their Shrimp Pad Thai. 3255 Hammer Ln. #18 Stockton (209) 476-8616
It’s a beautiful mixture of bright ambiance and simplicity that makes Thai Jasmine so appealing to many of its frequenting foodie aficionados. Well, that, and their Gang Karee Gai, in all its curry splendor. 29 W. 10th St., Tracy (209) 832-7441
Bunched in between the corners of downtown, packing all the punches that a true Thai restaurant can provide its guests is the Thai Kitchen. Its narrow business is frequently piled over with customers, many of which wait patiently by to try favorites like the Tamarinated Fish. 107 S. Sacramento St., Lodi (209) 625-8373
There’s no soup quite like a pho bowl. Its combinations are nearly endless and go great with any cool evening or night out on the town. But don’t you forget for an instant how incredible the rest of the traditional dishes are that come with a full course of Vietnamese food. Part of the popularity for Vietnamese is how many veggies are packed into each menu option. This makes for a particularly pleasant experience when it comes to vegetarians or those looking to try healthier alternatives!
Look for the ritzy sign along Elm and stay awhile at Saigon Grill. Because when you’re around great people and equally amazing food, what could be better? The menu is loaded with a variety of options for both carnivore and vegetarian alike, meaning everyone stays happy! Our personal favorite? The Spring Rolls. 5 W. Elm St., Lodi (209) 368-5152
It never fails to amaze us, how fresh and vibrant the vegetables seem to be at Pho Lucky Noodle House. And with a plethora of colors and arrangements cascading the walls of this restaurant you’ll notice that the more you visit, the more you tend to unwind. While you’re doing so, might we suggest the Bun Bo Hue? 8032 N. El Dorado St., Stockton (209) 472-9301
Figuring it’s time for some pho? Why not add a sandwich or two by visiting Mama’s Pho & Sandwiches, where the food is fresh and the staff is superb at making your visit the best it can possibly be. Order the Banh Mi Dac Biet. 8014 N. Lower Sacramento Rd # E., Stockton (209) 473-7154
It’s a great feeling when you can boast high quality food and equally generous portions. At Bayon Restaurant this combination is done right. And speaking of combos, check out the Vermicelli, it’s out of this world. 2233 Grand Canal Blvd., # 119 Stockton (209) 956-5686
Get ready to feast, our foodie friends. Because Le’s Dynasty brings together years of culinary success to our port-side city. Their family owned and operated restaurant prides itself on large portions of delicious entrees. Try your hand at the Combo Pho and live it large. 1439 N. El Dorado St., Stockton (209) 467-1630
Dare to dive into a bowl (or two) at TL Noodle House and experience the wide range of flavorful opportunities! From traditional pho to combinations crafted by the restaurant’s specialty chefs, go forth and conquer, fellow foodies! And starts with the Beef Stew Rice Stick Noodle Soup! 8118 West Ln., Stockton (209) 951-8118
Known for their quick service and savory flavor, Pho Minh Long in Tracy has got a following for good reason. We may not have traveled all the way from the Bay to get a taste as some customers have attested, but we’re always in the mood for their Grilled Shrimp and Pork Vermicelli. 1886 W. 11th St., Tracy (209) 833-0399
If you’re serious about your pho then we’re serious about our recommendation. Bring out the best in your soup experience by enjoying the exceptional service at Pho Saigon Bay and trying out the Spicy Beef and Pork. 2725 Naglee Rd., Tracy (209) 839-0104
A brilliant atmosphere meets brilliant staff to concoct authentic Vietnamese food for the betterment of all foodie-kind! Oh yes, we mean it. Pho Real & Grill Vietnamese Bistro could make headline news with their fine menu options and charming smiles. Get there and try on the Bun Bo Hue. 2231 W. Grant Line Rd., Tracy (209) 836-7139
Whether it’s a celebration with friends, a family function, or a simple night out for two, Saigon Vietnamese is a restaurant that strives to bring a smile to your face with their excellent customer service and cuisine. They’re popular for providing their own take on the Thai Salad. 2437 Naglee Rd., Tracy (209) 830-0444
Cambodian & Filipino
Want to tease your taste buds in the most tantalizing ways? Try on Cambodian and Filipino cuisine, where the name of the game is in combining flavors from opposing ends of the spectrum to create the ultimate in dining experiences. We’re talking sweet brushing elbows with bitter and all that jazz.
Try not to drive past this fusion of Cambodian and Vietnamese food when you’re heading off of March Lane, because Bayon Restaurant’s menu is chalk full of rich and savory menu options cooked to their peak of flavor. If we were you we’d hit the Pork Vermicelli and ask for a side of spring rolls. 2233 Grand Canal Blvd., Stockton (209) 956-5686
Expect a warm welcome when you come to Monorom Restaurant for a meal, because what the restaurant lacks in décor it makes up for in warmth provided by its staff and wealth of outstanding flavor. And if you need a little hint on what you should indulge on, might we suggest the Pork Rib with Coconut Sour Soup? 8626 Lower Sacramento Rd., Stockton (209) 954-9533
The traditional art of Cambodian cuisine is strong in this one. Go forth and conquer Mitapheap Restaurant‘s Ginger Salted Fish with that lovely spice-filled tang only the brave can endure. 8028 N. El Dorado St., Stockton (209) 956-3900
Bliss is knowing that as you walk through the doors of Cambodian Restaurant you’re going to be greeted with a variety of heavenly scents, all distinctly marked by rich sauces and fire-grade seasonings. If you’re only looking to dip your toe in the water we’d recommend the Grilled Pork and Rice. 8046 N. West Ln. Ste. 103 Stockton (209) 952-8030
On the cusp of downtown Stockton is Red Orchids Restaurant, a classy establishment that takes pride in their tantalizing assortment of Filipino and Asian Fusion cuisine. Featuring a buffet, catering options, and outstanding customer service. Look for their Lechon Kewali when you stop in for lunch! 126 E. Market St., Stockton (209) 467-8140
Mixing it up with a modern ambiance and generous dishes, Papa Urb’s Grill is the place to be after a long day lugging around Stockton. You can’t go wrong with their Pork Belly, the Sisig Fries or an Adobo Quesadilla straight off the grill. 331 E. Weber Ave., Stockton (209) 227-8144
Bountiful plates of Adobo in dishes of varying shape and seasoning is just what we want to see. That, and maybe a little Halo-halo here and there. Some pizazz splashed over the walls in the form of bright orange paint and exceptional artwork takes Papa Urb’s Grill in Tracy over the top. Did we mention their Lumpia? 549 W. Clover Rd., Tracy (209) 836-9444
Can you guess what this joint’s known for? Maybe it’s their casual atmosphere, or the frequent return-trips of their fans. Perhaps it’s because of popular dishes like the savory BBQ Pork and their Caldereta. No? Well, they’re definitely the best at something. Guess you’ll have to drop by Best Lumpia and find out. 9305 Thorton Rd., Ste. J Stockton (209) 952-8300