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Lion Dance Cafe

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I did a little happy dance around my room when I placed my first online order at Lion Dance Cafe, a vegan Singaporean spot in Downtown Oakland - because every other time I remembered to check the pre-order site, they were always already sold out. And I carried this giddy energy with me through the end of the week, when I finally picked up my bowl of laksa, A.S.S. cookies (almond, sesame, and shallot, of course), and the definitive star of the show: the shaobing sandwich. What goes in the sandwiches changes weekly, but the one I got was stuffed with thick slices of hoisin-braised tofu, garlic charred cabbage, fermented chilies, mint, and cilantro - and packed with tons of flavor and texture. But what really makes the sandwich special is the shaobing: a nutty, sesame-covered flatbread with a chewy inside and a golden-brown exterior. I almost shed a tear when I ate the last bite and realized I had no more left. But I’ve already set an indefinitely recurring “ORDER LDC” alarm for every Wednesday at noon (when pre-orders open).

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