Photos: Nicolette Skidmore

More Than Takeout: Chinese Food of Sacramento

Sacramento has always been a foodie town, boasting an array of international cuisine. But the city’s bustling food options go far beyond take-out menus and combo meals.

From hole-in-the-wall restaurants to banquet-style dining rooms, we’ve highlighted some of the best Chinese food experiences Sacramento has to offer. These menus feature more than Kung Pao chicken and fried rice—so get your chopsticks ready to go.

Jade Fountain Café

Located on Freeport Boulevard, Jade Fountain is a no-frills establishment that offers the ultimate Cantonese home-cooking experience.

Order the Chinese beef stew noodles Hong Kong style (crispy), the salt and pepper pork, the beef chow fun, and the chicken and green beans with black bean sauce over rice—the latter is a staple for weekday takeout or Saturday family dinner. The black bean sauce makes it a truly fail-proof dish. Or, as the weather gets colder, order a bowl of seafood jok (rice porridge). Leave with a full tummy, and probably a box of leftovers since dishes are family-style. Jade Fountain is a reliable place that provides comfort through their take on home cooking.

Tip: don’t pass up the fortune cookies. They’re slightly sweet and crunchy, but they’re not highlighter yellow and they don’t taste like Styrofoam.

Asian Pearl Restaurant

This one-stop shop does it all—banquets, dinners, lunches, and weekend specials. But Asian Pearl’s greatest strength comes in the smallest packages: dim sum. So if you’re looking to swap your standard eggs and mimosa brunch fare for something a little different, this weekend specialty offers an equally savory fare.

When you step inside this massive restaurant, you’ll be seated at a table with white linens and a small sheet of paper. You’ll have to flag down a waitress pushing carts of small steamer baskets—filled with dumplings, buns, and more—to stamp your order on your sheet of paper, though you can always grab more food from the passing carts. Old favorites such as Cha sui bao (steamed BBQ pork bun), Har gow (dumpling), and Sui mai (dumpling) will roll by, as well as fried sticky rice, shrimp noodle rolls, and steamed chicken feet. This fast-paced type of ordering and eating is like a game: you never know what each cart will bring to your table.

Macau Café

To put it simply, Macau Café is the perfect place to meet up with friends over soup noodles.

As you walk in, jade-green teacups line the counter, ready for the tea to be poured, while large, round tables take over the majority of the restaurant space, bracing for the crowds of family gatherings.

After you take in your surrounds, sit down and order a classic lunch plate of steamed white rice and barbequed pork. The sweet-glaze exterior balances the inside of the savory pork. Instead of ordering your standard chow mein, try chow fun—wide, flat rice noodles mixed with stir-fried veggies. In addition to soup noodles, regulars chow down on steamed white chicken over rice and bok choy—a dish that is both hearty and nourishing. Macau Café is the place to go for lunch on the fly, as the service is fast and reliable, and the food is delicious. It’s also tucked in between Sprouts and Parkside Pharmacy, with William Land Park across the street, so perch yourself under the shady trees and enjoy lunch in the park.

Why not try a different brunch style this weekend? You won’t regret it.