Pacific East Mall 3288 Pierce St.
This indoor mall features Asian restaurants, small shops (including several specialty tea shops), and a large supermarket. When I come here I usually start with a foot reflexology treatment, then go to lunch, then shop the small stores and market, and top it off with a beautiful orchid from the open lobby stall.
●99 Ranch Market #81, (510) 769-8899.
This supermarket dominates the mall and has a vast selection of Asian grocery items. Rice can be purchased in 50-pound bags, and delicacies include dried black moss and pork blood soup as well as roasted duck and exotic fruits and vegetables. A cafeteria-style Chinese restaurant operates in the back, which is also where you’ll find an array of live fish in tanks.
●Sheng Kee Bakery #C133, (877) 580-8000.
Located across from the market check-out, this bakery is set up cafeteria-style. With tongs, you select what you like and put it on your tray. I like to pick up several hot curry beef crescent pastries (these are best eaten right away while hot, or heated later in an oven--not a microwave) to take home for dinner along with a few random pastries for dessert. More description.
●Golden Island Massage #M268, (510) 525-8288. Daily 9:30am-10pm. $25/hr. for foot reflexology treatment.
Find this spot by heading inside to the back of the mall. On the north side by the stairwell, look for the signs in Chinese and go upstairs. This treatment is all business, with no frills or pampering. You remain fully clothed--wear an old t-shirt and loose pants—and should expect your hair and any make-up to get mussed. You’ll be in a dark, quiet communal room outfitted with a number of comfortable reclining chairs or perhaps a chair-table. The exceptional foot reflexology treatment is done by a certified attendant and includes head, arms, shoulders, back, and, of, course, the feet and legs. I sleep so blissfully well after. Appointments are not necessary unless you want a specific person. Most workers speak very little English, and most are very good. Complimentary use of a sauna and steam room is included. More traditional Western treatments and massage are also available.
●168 Restaurant #A109, (510) 588-9168. L-D daily; $.
Come here for Taiwanese-style Chinese cuisine. Tasty lunch specials I’ve enjoyed include spicy eggplant, beef with yellow leek and dry bean curd, and a fresh papaya juice icee. The special comes with a bowl of soup, rice, and a choice of iced green tea or iced coffee.
●Asian Pearl Seafood Restaurant #A118, (510) 526-6800. Dim sum M-F 11-2:30, Sat-Sun 10-3.
This is the spot for dim sum, which here is ordered from a menu. The deep-fried stuffed taro and sticky rice in lotus leaf are very popular.
With a new name and refreshed decor, this place has the same menu but has added beer and complimentary tea. It is always busy, but any wait is usually short. Personal favorites are the soupy version of beef-broccoli with wide chow ho fun noodles (#30) and the Singapore-style fried vermicelli rice noodles (#32). On my list to try in the future are shrimp chow fun with mixed vegetables (#37), a rice plate/platter with spareribs (#40) or five-spice duck (#41), and the signature fried fish cake. Soups and vegetarian options are available. The signature hot sauce and diced jalapeno pepper condiments are very good. Prices are a tad high.
●Pho Saigon II
#A116, (510) 528-6388. L-D daily.
Vietnamese noodle dishes rule the menu. Choose a soup version or dry version. My favorite is dry thin rice vermicelli noodles with a barbecue-pork topping and the soup on the side. I add flavoring to my taste from condiments on the table. Fresh fruit smoothies are delicious and include the unusual—durian, jackfruit, cherimoya—as well as the more common.
●Daimo (510) 527-3888. Dim sum daily 9-5; open to 3am.
Located in a detached building outside and in front of the mall, this spot serves excellent fresh seafood and a limited selection of order-from-the-menu dim sum.
More things to do in Richmond.
Dim sum photo gallery.
More places to explore in Northern California.
images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
updated August 3, 2015; September 13, 2017