[SF] Challenge: best dishes of SF chinatown

Let’s say you had a young foodie niece, especially one whose parents are medium foodie and particularly aren’t a fan of chinese,

And that niece was taken on a commercial food walking tour of SF chinatown and wasn’t impressed by the tour but was impressed by the (small amount of food) offered [too much talking, she said],

And let’s say as Cool Uncle archetype, you offered to craft a custom walking tour of chinatown, attempting the broadest range of the tastiest experiences in a modest amount of time,

And let’s say you have a few favorite joints but realistically your favorite places are in sunnyvale, cupertino, and up and down the peninsula,

What would your short list dishes be? Limited to SF chinatown (or within like 2 blocks, but more than that not ok) Specific restaurant + dish required.

Deadline: 12/25; thanks in advance!!!


This is easy for me.

The Egg White Fried Rice with Dried Scallops at Dragon Beaux.

Every time I am in town for work, I will have my hotel concierge order this for me. Actually, nowadays, they just do it without me even asking.

The other one would be the Egg White Egg Custard Tarts from Yummy Bakery and Cafe.

*I would also recommend the Macau style egg custard tarts from Mr. Bread, but alas, that’s too far from Chinatown.


Salt-and-pepper roasted squid, and any one of their crab dishes, at Yuet Lee. I like their soups, too.


Based on @chandavkl’s tips, I get my kids one of iCafe’s pineapple style baked bbq pork buns each time we go to Chinatown.

KK posted some great tips on his instagram Hon’s Won Ton House in the former Washington Bakery space, including Cantonese favorites as well as impressive sounding sheng jian bao


And of course, the egg tart if Golden Gate bakery happens to be open. Get the sachima to go. No one ever mentions their sachima though I thought its a pretty good version.

Hon’s wonton noodle soup when I ate it long time ago came in ‘snack size’ (or what used to be the proper size for wonton noodle), which is the perfect size to sample a decent rendition of wonton noodle soup.

Never had dimsum in Chinatown but find a teahouse and shared a few classic dimsum dishes and some good tea. How about that oldest teahouse place that Hyperbowler went to.

Get a live fish from the a fish market on Stockton Street and have it steamed at Cafe Broadway. Or just get some live seafood special there directly. Skip the carb, since you need to save tummy space. Or have the cool uncle bring the fish home and steam it for the niece with a few slices of Wo Cheong silken tofu on top.

Does anyone serve double boiled soup in Chinatown? If so that’s a good snack.

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How does this one compare to the one from R&G? Many many years ago, years before Dragon Beaux opened, when I worked a block from Chinatown, R&G’s rendition was one of my work dinner options.

sorry, never been

Have to order in advance and prepay R&G stuffed, deboned, whole fried chicken, lo mei gai.


I have never really figured out Great Fried Rice. I love making leftover rice omletes at home, japanese style a la tampopo, but most fried rice seems pretty low on flavor. I’ll try this one, maybe the lightbulb will turn on.

I have been looking for Roujiamo, not expecting any because cantonese != shanxi, but … yep, none. I do love Roujiamo.

My next move is to make a google doc with many of the reputed restaurants and put together a menu, see if I get some opinions. Eg, where has the best duck, bbq pork. Or even better, the first and second best. Shootout!

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So as to not overlap, you know what dishes were on the walking tour?

As I’’m sure you’ve experienced, a tour is challenging because it’s difficult to manage waiting time, portion size, and self control when there’s more food on the agenda. Will it just be the two of you?

Some great tips above i gotta say…i really do enjoy that kind of fried rice with the dried scallop…add crab for me…golden gate bakery seems like a must stop too.

Lots of good non-chinese spots in that range in north beach too, but you want all chinese?

I like the brownies at Stella Bakery and the salami etc at molinari on Columbus.

Also like the Mai Tais at Li Po - maybe your niece is over 21 and gets thirsty? It’s kind of a cool spot too.

Where would you go if you only had 20-30 bucks to spend on the whole endeavor? i like the magic boxes at Good Mong Kok on Stockton with har gow, pork sui mai, cruellers, etc. I’m curious as to what others may think about some of the other bargain dim sum restaurants in the area, or bargain bbq meat spots.

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Any combo of:

  • Hing Lung/Go Duck Yourself — best roast meats, have a snack and get some to take home
  • Chong Qing Xiao Mian — bowl of noodles and lamb skewers
  • Lai Hong Lounge — best dim sum in the area
  • Fancy Wheat Field Bakery — their smaller items, both sweet and savory, can be pretty good
  • China Live — buy something at the shop and/or have a snack
  • Taishan Cuisine — split an eel claypot rice
  • iCafe — get some buns or zongzi to eat while walking

Obviously (well maybe) can’t do them all but a picking from that is a good mix of different styles/levels and some to go, some sit down.


I agree sck on the Golden Gate.

Yeah. If there is one thing SF Chinatown does better than most places, yes, that is the one. Second that I would aim for AA Bakery & Cafe for egg tarts.

SF Chinatown has some decent wonton places, but I cannot say it is better than other places. However, if you are into wonton noodle soup, then maybe Hon’s Wun-Tun and Yi Du.

R&G Louge is still good.

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The problem with GGB is that their hours and open dates are so random and arbitrary that it makes it feel like their business hours more temperamental than a supermodel during that time of the month.

I’ve sort of given up on them, sort of like how I’ve given up on dating a supermodel.

Eastern Bakery on Grant Avenue & Commercial Street has very good Chinese pastries, but also has good coffee crunch cake (when it’s available).


That egg tart is still


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Not sure if this applies (not a dish, but a drink), but a mai tai at Li Po (916 Grant Ave). The place has character in spades.


Given this is December, I am sure they will be on vacation till after the Chinese New Year.

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Regrettably, or perhaps not, my niece is 11, otherwise hell yeah.

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