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This Oakland Chinatown restaurant—located in the Pacific Renaissance Plaza shopping center—has really stepped up its game, according to Phillips. Word has spread, as the immense space can quickly fill at lunch, and it’s nearly impossible to squeeze into on weekends. Prices are reasonable, and Phillips says the service is great. 

Must-order: Har gow, garlic chive packets, fried fun gor and truffle baozi, which look like enormous flames, are not to be missed. Phillips also raves about Peony’s sweet dim sun, especially the durian puffs. 

------Peter