Bites Nearby: Full Belly Chinese Restaurant

Just in time for the Lunar New Year! A Castro Valley food spot is spacious, group-friendly, and festively decorated.

Chinese New Year Parade organizers expect a million people to watch the annual festivities tonight in San Francisco's Chinatown. 

The annual parade, a San Francisco tradition that dates back to 1858, has nearly 5,000 participants, hundreds of volunteers, and will include 26 floats, marching bands, students, dance troupes, music, and lots of firecrackers, spokeswoman Karen Eng said.

People may also watch the parade on KTVU Channel 2, starting at 6 p.m.

If all the dragons, parade floats and firecrackers have you craving Chinese food, head down to Castro Valley.

Enviably located midway along CastroValley Boulevard, Full Belly Restaurant is spacious, group-friendly and festively decorated. The kitchen dishes up traditional favorites along with seasonal daily specials.

Weekend nights are busy and the servers try hard to accommodate three-generational families, couples and friendly gatherings within some reasonable time frame. If waiting for your order makes you antsy with hunger, it’s not a bad thing, because the food that’s coming is solid good and the portions are generous. 

About the Restaurateurs

Husband and wife Ted Hui and Christine Chan opened their business in a previously existing Chinese restaurant space two years ago. While he performs the general manager duties and takes care of the books, she works as a hostess making sure everything goes smoothly at the front of the house.

The owners redecorated the dining room, creating larger and smaller spaces for various size parties with the help of partition walls.

Along with chef Peter Leung, they put seasonal Dungeness crab in garlic sauce; traditional drunken chicken, served cold; and other Chinese specialties on the menu.

On the Main Menu

Deep fried won tons, egg rolls and crab Rangoon are complemented by health-conscious appetizers like lean barbecue pork and lettuce wraps with chicken. Pot stickers, fried prawns, barbecue spare ribs and similar items can be served in small (2 to 6) or large (4 to 12 pieces) portions.

Soups include egg flower and tofu (with whipped egg); hot and sour (spicy); sizzling rice, cream corn and chicken; and at least five different won ton soups, with meat, vegetables and gravy. Egg foo yung, chow mein, and chow fun plates can contain chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, or a combination of meats and seafood.

Combination chow fun is especially satisfying with soft, wide rice noodles glistening with oil-based sauce; crunchy bean sprouts; plump shrimp; and slices of chicken and pork interspersed with carrots and green onions. 

There are seasonal vegetables and vegetarian choices alongside vegetable dishes with shrimp paste sauce and other seafood or meat embellishments.

Rice dishes range from regular fried rice with meat or shrimp to ginger, asparagus, and spinach and pine nuts varieties. Noodle plates include Szechwan spicy cold noodles with ground pork, Shanghai chow mein and cold Korean-style clear vermicelli.

On the Dessert Menu

Fried bananas, cut into slices and wrapped in won ton, are dusted with powder sugar and served with French vanilla ice cream.

Chewy sesame balls and sweet red bean pancakes are among other dessert choices. While desserts might seem like too much after a filling meal at Full Belly, they are just too good to be missed.

Full Belly Restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. It offers banquet facilities and gift certificates, and provides catering for all occasions.

The restaurant is located at 3335 Castro Valley Blvd. For more information and to make a reservation, call 510-582-1585.


Bay City News contributed to this report.


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