When Angie Lin and Tony Tung first broke into the Bay Area’s burgeoning brewery-based pop-up scene about three years ago, all the cool craft breweries were slinging burgers or tacos or nachos. No one seemed to be repping what they believed to be an equally transcendent pairing: craft beer and handmade, “craft” dumplings. Good-to-Eat Dumplings stepped in to fill the void.
Eventually, the wife-and-wife duo settled into a permanent gig popping up out of the kitchen at Original Pattern Brewing, in Jack London Square, and slowly built up an avid cult following for its distinctly Taiwanese style of dumplings and bao, which also showcased fresh Northern California produce.
Now, they will have a standalone restaurant of their own. Opening toward the end of 2021 in the former Yuzu Ramen & Broffee location on 65th Street in Emeryville, the new Good-to-Eat Dumplings will be one of a small number of full-fledged Taiwanese restaurants in the Oakland and Berkeley area—one of the only places, in fact, where diners will be able to sit down for a family-style Taiwanese meal.
As with so many businesses, the turning point was the pandemic. Prior to that, Good-to-Eat had stayed fairly one-minded in its focus on dumplings with seasonal fillings; its most famous dish was its long potstickers. But once shelter in place hit and Good-to-Eat shifted to doing takeout exclusively, Lin says it only made sense to offer more complete meals: rice plates, noodle dishes and a variety of weekly specials. They served Taiwanese-style lion’s head meatballs, crispy fried pork chops and an appetizer they stylized as “Taiwanese caprese”—a classic preparation from Tainan that combined ripe heirloom tomatoes, sugar and a gingery soy-sauce glaze.
Regulars were immediately enamored with the new dishes, and, as in-person dining slowly ramped up again, the restaurant stuck with the expanded menu. On any given weekend, Lin says, the dining room would fill up with families across three generations. Each group would order a spread of dishes sumptuous enough to cover the table and then some.