Buzzy Taiwanese breakfast spot opens in East Bay

Dumpling Hours opens; MudLab struggles; more Bites.

Two savory breakfast sandwiches from popular new Taiwanese spot Cafe Mei. Credit: Cafe Mei

Taiwan News reported last month (h/t Eater) that Cafe Mei, which is kind of the first U.S. location of breakfast sandwich destination Mei Er Mei, had quietly opened in Fremont. Its official opening wasn’t until late last week, KQED reports, and now the hot or cold triple-decker spot is open to all. In addition to its eggy savory sandwiches, expect breakfast treats like dan bing (listed on the menu as “Taiwanese pancakes”) and sit-down service. Mei Er Mei fans should note, however, that the restaurant isn’t officially owned by the Taiwanese company, but owner Kandy Wang says “she secured the chain’s official recipes” and “owns the “Mei Er Mei” trademark in the U.S.” Cafe Mei is at 43761 Boscell Rd #5125 (in the Pacific Commons Shopping Center), Fremont.

Another interesting mall find is Frymazing, a American/Korean fish-and-chips spot in Vallejo. SF Gate reports that the six-year-old family-owned restaurant boasts a french fry dish you should probably brace yourself for: “beef bulgogi, kimchi, shredded cheese and fresh green onions on top of the restaurant’s thick-cut fries.” The menu also pokes fun at a pervasive anti-Asian and false health scare with its MSG (Must Try Seriously Good) chicken bites, “a sort of chefed-up ramen combined with fried chicken.” Frymazing is in the strip mall at 601 Tennessee St. (next to Tennessee Discount Cigarettes), Vallejo.

As Nosh reported last year, MudLab opened in Oakland in early 2020 with a goal of zero-waste operation and organic produce for what’s been a fresh foods desert. Those sustainability goals were challenged by the pandemic, co-founder Vanessa Pope told Nosh, saying “You’ve got your mask, now you’ve got your hand sanitizer — Do you also remember your reusable mug and figure out a way to use it? It’s impossible.” Now Pope tells the SF Chronicle that the business has a new challenge, as it’s been robbed three times in the past year and has suffered losses in the tens of thousands. “The city of Oakland has offered hardly any assistance,” the business wrote in an Instagram post, saying “ We need help from the police and city officials if we want to stay in business.

Walnut Creek’s new Dumpling Hours has been greeted with a flurry of press. The spot is a spinoff of San Francisco’s critically acclaimed Dumpling Home, and started gearing up to open last month, Beyond the Creek reported at the time. It quietly opened its doors late last week, BtC reports, and Bay Area News Group scribe Jessica Yadegaran stopped by shortly therafter. “If its second day of business is any indication, it is going to be a success,” Yadegaran writes, calling it a “bright addition to Walnut Creek’s dining scene.” Dumpling Hours is at 1389B N Main St. (near Cypress Street) in Walnut Creek.

Eve Batey is Berkeleyside's interim Nosh editor. Email: eve@berkeleyside.org.