[San Francisco] New Year parade food?

I will be taking the kids to the Chinese New Year parade this Saturday. This is our first time there, so I am not sure what to expect. Since the parade takes place right around the time when we eat dinner, we’d probably eat while watching the parade. Not sure where we’ll be along the route, but most likely somewhere along Kearny near Chinatown since our car will be parked at the Hilton.

Need some help trying to figure out what we can eat while standing. Ideally food that can be held with one hand, like buns (other ideas?), but I can’t think of any places hopefully within one block of Kearny, that serve these kind of foods late afternoon. Perhaps bakeries like Eastern Bakery (not sure what their selection is) or take out dim sum joints? A quick in-and-out bowl of wonton noodles at Hon’s probably works but of course that takes time away from watching (but perhaps that’s a good thing after standing for a while.) R&G is right there, but I am not sure if there’s anything convenient from the menu.

It isn’t feasible for us to go far away from the parade route to get food. But I really don’t want to eat Subway.

Ideas? Suggestions? Thanks!

Washington Bakery has HK style pastries to go, and may have convenient to-go containers for wonton noodles and the like.

Scuttlebutt is that Oriental Pearl on Clay has had a significant upgrade in their dim sum, and I believe they serve them all day.

Quickly/Kobe Bento at Kearny and Jackson may have some portable goodies.

Garden Restaurant (right next to the Hilton) probably has takeout containers and disposable chopsticks. (or bring your own).

Likewise Sam Wo. I believe they open for dinner at 6:00, well before the parade gets to you and if you were there right at opening maybe you could beat the rush for takeout.

When the CNY Parade is happening all bets are off, though. Don’t try to get a table at House of Nanking, LOL.

I tend to avoid the parade because it’s pretty much the same from year to year, but if you’ve never seen it in person it’s well worth the hassle. Have fun!

Another thought is to trek up to Wong Lee (Jackson above Grant) for excellent baozi. Same owners as Good Mong Kok, and I believe they still make the legendary giant chicken buns they inherited from their predecessor, Yong Kee, Per Yelp, they are open until 7:00 on Saturdays.

Thanks for the suggestions! we’d probably try to get a bite to make it an early dinner before the parade arrives, and then maybe some snack during the parade if anyone’s hungry.

If Sam Wo is entrepreneurial, they should keep it open the whole day this Saturday… I’d look into Oriental Pearl and Wong Lee. How’re the buns at Eastern Bakery?

Was looking at Pushkin but looks like they are closed on weekends. Probably the whole International Food Court too?

I thought the parade starts before 6? Or are you saying by the time it gets to Chinatown its past 6?


Yeah I remember the procession might take a while. I’m looking at the map and it should start at 5:15 around Market street.

For food hm… I’d probably swing by some of the bakeries and grab some buns to tide the kids over. Golden gate bakery might still be open as well if you want to stand in that line and pay a bit haha.

The parade starts before 6:00 PM at 2nd and Market, but is timed to pass MACY’s (where KTVU’s cameras will be) precisely at 6:00. It then turns north on Powell, east on Post and north on Kearny, so it’s well after 6:00 when it passes the Holiday Inn.

I have a psychological block against getting anything at Eastern Bakery because everything in the window looks petrified, so I can’ttell you about their buns.

The whole IFC is closed on Saturday.

That I think is also my reason why I haven’t visited. Perhaps I will remedy that this week.

In that case, perhaps stationing on Kearny farther away from Chinatown may be a better idea (before the kids start melting down) then since I thought they would reach Chinatown much sooner than ‘well after 6:00’. The only problem is I recall that area was a dead zone on weekends when it comes to food. I think I will still grab some stuff from Chinatown.

Non-food related: Does anyone know how far ahead of time do I need to grab a viewing spot along the route? Crowded?

It’s been years since I’ve been, but I always found it easiest to find standing space on Market St close to the start of the parade, but I’ll defer to people who’ve made the effort more recently. Everybody associates the parade with Chinatown itself and tries to watch it there.

If your parking space in the Hilton is guaranteed, my best advice would to be to get there as early as you can tolerate, grab some baozi or other portable food in Chinatown (or bring your own) and walk south on Kearny until you find standing (or curb-sitting) room. If you give up on Kearny, keep going to Market St.

You might even think of dining or picking up food on Clement St or in the Sunset on your way. Every place in Chinatown will be slammed, In past years, as many as 500,000 people have watched the parade. That’s 20 sold-out Giants games worth of teeming humanity.

Again, if you and your kids have never been, it’s definitely worth all the hassle.

Well, I just found out they cancelled my Hilton spot saying the parade makes the lot inaccessible. I thought they have an entrance on Washington, but perhaps the parade closes Washington as well. So now I have found a spot closer to the beginning of the parade route. And hope that it won’t get cancelled.

Wong Lee’s chicken bun turned out to be our dinner (or at least the kids’), along with some siu mais, and steamed sponge cake. Forgot how affordable Chinatown takeout dim sums are. Giant bun and 3 siu mai both for $2.1 and the steamed sponge cake $1 a piece. A little heavy handed with the soy sauce in the bun filling, but overall satisfying. i need to look at my phone but there was another place nearby that was doing brisk takeout dim sum business with long line out the door.

We ended up going up to the city late. After a late lunch, we went to the fair on Grant briefly, before getting food from Wong Lee and then went look for a spot. End up settling on Kearny a couple of blocks from the bend. Market Street was swamped at the beginning and was also like a wind tunnel on Saturday.

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