the spot: Easterly Hunan Chinese multiple locations in Bay Area(Berkeley location linked)
the eats: Smoked Beef, Cumin Beef, Stir Fried Fish Filet, Whole Carp, Braised Pork Belly, String Bean
the bucks: $15-$25 a person when ordered family style, entrees are large and enough for 2-4 depending on dish
the full nelson: Hardcore Hunan style Chinese
And every one of them had a person ordering in Mandarin. That was the case when I went to Easterly Hunan Chinese in Santa Clara, just south of San Francisco. A review in the SF Chronicle described the Easterly Hunan Chinese as “hardcore”. And I fully agree.
Now I’ll let the dishes do the talking for me.
If you really want to explore the unique dishes and dynamic flavors of Easterly Hunan Chinese, you need to bring a group and order family style. The dishes are sized for 2-4 people and priced fairly I might add. This was for four people and we probably ate 35% of what we ordered.
But then again I’m not really good at math.
The right combo of salty, spicy and buttery transforms even the most mildest of white fishes into a memorable dish. I don’t know what particular fish this was but it was mild and a good option for even the timid seafood eater.
This dish was recommended by our waitress and she even tried to convince us to stick with this and not order the whole carp.FYI that carp would become the showstopper dish of the night at Easterly Hunan Chinese.
Considering I live in Austin TX: the capital of smoked beef you would think I’ve tasted it all. Then came this dish. The beef was dried to a point where it was slightly like a beef jerky but somehow that doesn’t do the dish justice because beef jerky is gas station fare.
Maybe imagine Mexican machaca but brought to life in a wok Easterly Hunan Chinese style.
Similar to Chashu or Kakuni, this sweet, salty, tender and fatty pork dish is a winter day’s best friend. If I wasn’t inundated with food I would have ordered two of these dishes. I know it’s family style but Easterly Hunan Chinese is pretty generous with the amount of food served.
This was the dish which our waitress tried to keep us from ordering. Growing up with parents from Bangladesh, I know how funky river fish tastes and it’s not for everyone. But with some strong flavors and spice . . . it becomes an enjoyable albeit acquired taste.
At one point when the waitress saw we were indeed going to town on the carp, she came by to make sure we at the best part: the meat from the head. She essentially carved out the cheek and head meat tableside for us to try. We felt special. Thanks, Easterly Hunan Chinese.
Tofu, string bean, cumin beef and a wood ear mushroom and chicken dish. It was all wonderful. Easterly Hunan Chinese was one of my most memorable restaurant experiences and a reminder that there is so much food out there I have yet to try.
Don’t waste a second and try something not just new but something seldom scene and hopefully you have a guide like I did to make the experience at Easterly Hunan Chinese as complete as can be.