Located east of Berkeley and Oakland, Walnut Creek’s culinary scene has plenty to offer, yet authentic Asian food is notoriously difficult to find. Authenticity can be found in this East Bay city, though most of this list’s restaurants are on the city outskirts. Nevertheless, a taste of real Asian food is worth the distance, especially in a place where authenticity is hard to come by. Here are five Asian dining establishments not to miss out on.
With its kimono-clad waitresses, Japanese sushi chefs and Japanese-speaking hostesses, Miraku is a hidden gem located on the outskirts of downtown Walnut Creek. With its booths lit by wooden and paper lanterns and a pond with lily pads in the center of the dining space, Miraku provides a relaxing atmosphere in which to enjoy freshly-made California rolls and lightly-battered tempura in bento boxes, or perhaps an iron pot of sukiyaki or udon noodles. Customers can also order from the Miraku Noodle shop located next door; their seafood ramen is a hit with the locals. Customers are given a complimentary pot of green tea upon sitting down and a scoop of green tea ice cream at the end of their meal. Miraku, 2131 N Broadway Avenue, Walnut Creek, CA, +1 925 932 1112
Only a couple blocks down from Miraku is Shanghai Gourmet, the ideal restaurant at which to get your fix of Shanghai-style mu shu pork, prawns with honey walnuts and crispy duck. Located in the middle of a commercial building, the restaurant does not necessarily stand out, and as is the case with most authentic Chinese restaurants, the waiters and waitresses usually seem to be in a hurry and going in ten directions at once. Do not be intimidated by the service, however, as the menu boasts numerous options, including authentic soups, seafood, noodles, dim sum and Chinese vegetables. Unsure what to order from such an extensive list of options? Try the Shanghai pan-fried thick noodles and green onion pancakes; both dishes are highlights of the menu.
Kacha Thai provides a variety of authentic Thai food in a chic yet cozy setting. With bar seating as well as tables for large parties, Kacha Thai offers a space for customers to enjoy favorites such as fresh papaya salad, pumpkin curry and pineapple fried rice, which are served overflowing in hollowed-out pumpkins and pineapples, respectively. Creative presentation of the food enriches the dining experience, and this can be seen not only in the main courses but with the desserts as well. The mango with sticky rice is arranged with the mango slices forming a heart to surround the sticky rice in the middle.
The open, naturally-lit atmosphere of Pho Huynh Hiep provides a bright and airy space for pho-lovers to grab a quick, hearty meal or for larger families to sit down and share from a few different bowls of noodles and appetizers. Offering chicken, beef, pork and seafood pho that come varying sizes, this Vietnamese restaurant also offers a variety of other types of soup noodles, as well as vermicelli and rice plates that include meat and vegetables, and sometimes even egg rolls. Also on the menu are an assortment of shakes and boba drinks. Shake options include taro, coconut, watermelon and even durian.
If your taste buds can handle the spiciness found in most Sichuan dishes, take the extra time to drive to Sichuan Fortune House in Pleasant Hill, just beyond the northern border of Walnut Creek. Not to be confused with Walnut Creek’s Sichuan House, this spot is hidden off the main road and boasts excellent Sichuan food despite its plain interior. Favorites include the Changsha chicken clay pot, sliced bacon-cut pork with spicy garlic sauce, hot and sour soup and the Sichuan boiled fish. Make sure your party is able and ready to handle hot meals, however, as many of these dishes are very spicy. Sichuan Fortune House, 41 Woodsworth Ln., Pleasant Hill, CA, +1 925 686 9828