One of the regional Chinese cuisines from the Guangdong province, Cantonese cuisine has deep historical roots in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Historically, there were a large number of immigrants from the Sze Yup (primarily Toishan/Zhongshan area) area of Guangdong that first arrived around the gold rush era, followed by subsequent Hong Kong immigrants from the 1960s and onward that helped shape the Bay Area’s Cantonese cuisine.
Many ingredients serve as the basis of Cantonese cuisine from live in the tank seafood to preserved, fermented soy beans. Some ingredients from the Guangdong area are not necessarily available within the bay area, yet due to abundant access to California produce you still get a winning combination around the bay. For animal protein sources, the three major animals utilized are pork, chicken, and beef; lamb and goat have rarer usage. Other seemingly more exotic meat products appear as well, including ducks, frogs, snakes, and squabs. For aquatic sources, a large number of seafood items (both fresh and dried) are also used. The most common cooking techniques used include steaming and stir-frying; however, braising, double-boiling, and deep frying are also employed. There are many types of Cantonese/Hong Kong style restaurants that are found in the bay area; some that serve a particular niche of food while others may have a combination (e.g. Dim sum during lunch hours and seafood restaurant during the evening). In Asia, there tends to be much more specialization to certain dishes, whereas the Bay Area has a little more overlap resulting in restaurants that does a jack-of-all-trades cooking.
Now, where would you go to eat some Cantonese food in the Bay Area? Well, the SF Bay Area historically has two continually existing Chinatowns in San Francisco and Oakland respectively, but they are not the only places to find Cantonese food. In San Francisco, there are expanded enclaves of residential and commercial places in the Richmond , Sunset, and the Portola/Vistacon Valley districts. Outside of the city, there are numerous suburbs with concentrations of Cantonese restaurants such as those in the peninsula: Daly City, South San Francisco, Milbrae, Foster City, San Mateo, etc. Going across the bay, there are the cities of Richmond, El Cerrito, San Leandro, Hayward, Dublin, Milpitas, Fremont, etc.
As I quote @hyperbowler, “treat these categories as rough guidance, and be warned the list includes outstanding restaurants and real stinkers.” Here are some categories and listing with their own separate thread:
Check out the other Regional Chinese restaurants besides Cantonese-esque cuisine!