The history of Chinese food in San Francisco returns around to the history of Chinese food in the United States– back to the days of the gold rush, the intercontinental railroad, and also, obviously, the beginning of the nation’s oldest (and also still vibrant) Chinatown. These days, San Francisco is still house to the kind of durable dark amount scene that befits its Cantonese origins, yet for many years the city has actually likewise seen a growth of other local Chinese cuisines, specifically out west in the Richmond and also Sundown communities.

The pandemic has had a destructive result on the Chinese dining establishment area, but the 24 restaurants in this collection of greatest hits– covering soup dumplings, hand-pulled noodles, red-cooked pork belly, and extra– are all still open for company, at least for takeout or shipment. Eat your method with the list for a preference of why San Francisco is still among America’s leading Chinese food cities.

Health and wellness professionals consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a danger for the immunized, specifically in locations with substantial COVID transmission.

Keep in mind: Dining establishments on this map are listed geographically.

1. Hakka Dining establishment 客家山莊

Typically referred to as a kind of emotional relative to Cantonese food, the cuisine of China’s migratory Hakka people abounds with marinaded veggies and slow-cooked meats. This cozy Outer Richmond restaurant is a terrific area to get hooked on these rustic, soothing flavors. Must-order dishes include the salt-baked poultry, clams stir-fried with basil, and also braised pork stomach with maintained mustard greens.

2. Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant 老北京

On chilly nights, before the pandemic, most of the regulars who had actually crowd the little, shabby dining room at Old Mandarin chinese Islamic would buy among the spicy Beijing-style warm pots. In general, the dining establishment, which concentrates on Chinese Muslim cuisine, is a terrific place to delight in lamb– stir-fried with cumin, braised, or boiled in a claypot. Chili-heads will certainly wish to test their endurance versus the side dish/condiment known as la si ni, or “flavor you to death.”

3. Shanghai Residence Dining Establishment 家家福

San Francisco is talented with an abundance of strong Shanghainese dining establishments, and Shanghai House is among the most constantly pleasurable, understood for its steamers of thin-skinned, suitably broth-laden soup dumplings. It also serves a timeless Shanghainese morning meal on weekend breaks, consisting of among the city’s ideal renditions of salty soy milk, or xian dou jiang– possibly the only variation in the city that incorporates the pungent dried out infant shrimp that Chinese and also Taiwanese expats long for.

4. Terra Cotta Warrior 老家陕西

Head to this Outer Sundown treasure for Shaanxi food, which several Americans became acquainted with thanks to Xian Famous Foods in New York. The food selection’s highlights include great deals of lamb dishes; elastic, semi-translucent cold noodles (or mian pi); Shaanxi-style pita bread; as well as the meat-stuffed sandwiches referred to as rou jia mo, or “Chinese burgers.”

5. Dumpling Alley 小巷餃子坊

A strong contender for the title of San Francisco’s xiao long bao king, this Outer Richmond newbie deserves a visit for its broad choice of steamed dumplings (available in both prepared and also frozen variations), ranging from standards like pork and cabbage to fish dumplings with squid ink wrappers; its noodle meals; as well as its sesame seed-studded pan-fried pork buns.

6. Ken Kee Cafe

A family member newbie to the Richmond, Ken Kee has actually become among the city’s most trustworthy for the mix of Western and also Chinese recipes that are characteristic of a conventional cha chaan teng (Hong Kong-style cafe)– braised beef tendons in a noodle soup; Hainanese hen rice; and massive baked pork chops offered in a oozy swimming pool of tomato sauce and thawed cheese, over either spaghetti or white rice.

7. Yuanbao Jiaozi 元寶餃子

Yuanbao Jiaozi is everything about the dumplings, fresh made by hand, steamed, and also served straight-up or in soup. The wonderfully textured wrappers hold a selection of delicate fillings, like fish with environment-friendly pepper or shrimp with zucchini. The dining establishment is now providing bags of frozen dumplings also.

8. Dragon Beaux 俏龍軒

San Francisco’s reigning queen of fancy, ingenious dim amount is a favored for cleaners of Instagram-friendly, five-color xiao long bao, however Dragon Beaux has many strengths to explore– timeless and modern-day tackles Cantonese dim sum, consisting of plenty of dumplings: har gow, sea bass dumplings, as well as scallop shumai; along with innovative recipes like sugar-crust-topped baked pork buns, bright-red rice crepe rolls packed with fried fish, and also a mushroom-and-chicken bao made to appear like an actual mushroom.

9. Dumpling Professional 嵐翔生煎饅頭

Run by Paul Yu, the chef that made use of to run Dumpling Kitchen a couple of blocks down on Taraval, this pint-sized dining establishment’s most prominent dish is actually its juicy, pan-fried sheng jian bao. Or else, the real discovers here are the north Chinese breakfast specialties, including the city’s richest, creamiest variation of salty soy milk (xian dou jiang).

10. Home of Pancakes 餡餅之家

This no-frills north Chinese spot in Parkside specializes in flaky scallion- and also sesame seed– flecked pancakes, usually rolled with up with very finely cut beef or scrambled eggs. It’s a carb-fest right here: The dumplings and hand-pulled noodles are also pretty great.

11. Mamahuhu 馬馬虎虎

Chef Brandon Jew’s most laid-back as well as available restaurant yet is this counter-service operation in the Inner Richmond that specializes in Chinese-American takeout standards: sweet-and-sour chicken, beef and also broccoli, egg rolls, and the ubiquitous stir-fry medley known as “pleased family.” Everything meal is made with well-sourced ingredients, abundant vegetables, as well as precise Chinese method– which implies that chicken, for instance, isn’t cloyingly sweet as well as has a gratifying crisis.

12. Beijing Restaurant 北京小館

Just how lucky San Francisco is to have a Beijing dining establishment whose whole reason for being isn’t its Peking duck? Rather, regulars at this Excelsior essential mainly come for the kitchen’s northern Chinese dough-based recipes: crunchy hand-made noodles; huge, Beijing-style crepes as well as pancakes; and little stir-fried flour balls.

13. Dumpling House

Fashionable Hayes Valley has not previously had an online reputation for destination-worthy Chinese food, yet this relative newbie deserves a special go to for its newly hand-made, very soupy xiao long bao, and also crispy-bottomed sheng jian bao. The xiao long bao, specifically, are available in 6 various variations, consisting of one filled with numbingly hot brew.

14. Bao

The Objective now has a committed dumpling home in Bao, a modern room with a chic interior. The area beginner uses a vast menu of Cantonese classics like baked-to-order charsiu bao and dan tat; a magnificent variety of xiao long bao and also non-traditional dumplings; gorgeous swan smokes as well as pleasant bao; and also coconut rabbits, mango corn (mango pudding in the form of a corn cob), and souffle for treat.

15. United Dumplings

This dumpling-focused spinoff of the Excelsior’s Beijing Restaurant serves excellent, by-the-books renditions of staples like xiao lengthy bao and shengjian bao. Past that, nonetheless, cook as well as co-owner Sandy Zheng’s stretches the borders of what’s considered “correct” to place in a Chinese dumpling. Her Goal poultry potsticker, loaded with ground poultry, sweet corn, and also cheese, is a real SF original.

16. Hing Lung Business 興隆燒臘肉食公司

This Cantonese bbq shop’s crackly-skinned roast pig as well as succulent, honey-brushed char siu– offered either by themselves or as part of a rice plate– make for several of most luxurious bites in the city. For a lot of Hing Lung’s existence, shipment was never ever an option, yet throughout the pandemic, co-owner Eric Cheung signed onto shipment apps under the moniker Go Duck Yourself, though naturally clients can still walk up as well as order takeout.

17. China Live

The casual first-floor market dining establishment in George Chen’s huge, multi-venue facility is understood for consumer faves like its crisp-bottomed sheng jian bao as well as its Peking duck sesame pockets.

The remainder of the food selection uses whatever from fried scallion support garlic noodles to Dongbei-style lengthy potstickers. While you’re there, may as well stockpile on the housemade condiments.

18. Mister Jiu’s.

Cook Brandon Jew’s enthusiastic Chinese-American restaurant in the heart of Chinatown remains to radiate, preserving its standing as the only Michelin-starred Chinatown dining establishment in 2021. Though Jew has gone on to introduce a number of new tasks, from spinoffs to cookbooks, Mister Jiu’s is the original fave for a roast duck plate with peanut butter hoisin, sea urchin cheong fun, as well as squid ink wontons.

19. Bund Shanghai Dining Establishment 上海飯店.

Everyone orders the xiao lengthy bao, as you perform in a Shanghainese restaurant, as well as few diners will certainly regret regarding devouring a cleaner’s well worth of Bund Shanghai’s very reputable version. The tender lion’s head meatball is one more favorite here, as is the jiggly red-braised Dongpo pork stubborn belly (offered in a small, one-person portion).

20. Sam Wo Restaurant 三和粥粉麺.

The famous, century-old dining establishment– the self-proclaimed “oldest restaurant in Chinatown”– is still open as well as offering bowls of fish jook, tomato beef chow mein, barbecue pork noodle rolls, and raw fish salad with maintained vegetables to its faithful consumers.

By Michael Caine

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