Underrepresented national cuisines in the SFBA

A couple of Taiwanese restaurants in the Peninsula. Have not tried them, just a Googling. If any of our HO members have tried any of these, please let us all know about your experiences:

Shihlin Taiwan Street Snacks, 142 E 3rd Ave, San Mateo
Joy Restaurant, 1489 Beach Park Blvd, Foster City
Taiwanese Eats, 426 MacArthur Ave, Redwood City

Also, a Japanese restaurant that is a bit different than usual. This is a long-time, very traditional place, but puts a bit of fusion into their menu. We love tofu, so ordered their housemade tofu. It was more like a pudding - quite different than anything we’ve had elsewhere!
Sushi Maruyama
279 Baldwin Ave., San Mateo, CA

BTW, not rare, but exceptional quality:
New England Lobster Company
824 Cowan Rd, Burlingame
Warning: parking is limited in space and difficult at peak times
We once watched as four middle-aged Chinese women knocked off at least 8 dozen raw oysters in about 15 minutes. Talk about fast food lunches!

  • NELC makes a lovely lobster/corn chowder, and they also sell it frozen.
  • If you need a lot of the best Dungeness crabmeat, NELC’s quality on their frozen crabmeat is better than any other company we have tried, and we have tried a whole lot of places. It was literally impossible to distinguish from fresh crabmeat. My spouse was in Heaven for a full week!
  • They run regular sales on fresh lobsters/lobster tails, and sell them in frozen pkgs in various ways: tail meat only, claw and tail, etc. You might want to get on their mailing list; they do a lot of sale specials.

Also, you should definitely take advantage of the excellent French bakeries that have opened up in the Peninsula. We envy you residents for that!!!


Catching up on some old food newsletters:

Huge reco for a dish SFChron’s Cesar Hernandez says is very rare: Puerco al horno tacos
From the owners’ native Nayarit, Mexico: puerco al horno, roasted whole suckling pigs for its tacos. NOTE: The truck has apparently moved to 1948 Alum Rock Ave San Jose, where it competes with several other food trucks.

[free link] https://www.sfchronicle.com/food/restaurants/article/tacos-el-lider-truck-17789076.php?utm_source=marketing&utm_medium=copy-url-link&utm_content=briefing&utm_campaign=article-share&sid=53b9e0bc9dbcd4ec1900017b&hash=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuc2ZjaHJvbmljbGUuY29tL2Zvb2QvcmVzdGF1cmFudHMvYXJ0aWNsZS90YWNvcy1lbC1saWRlci10cnVjay0xNzc4OTA3Ni5waHA%3D&time=MTcwMzg2Nzk5ODI4OA%3D%3D&rid=YTllZmM1MDctZjE2YS00ZWFjLWFkN2MtOTJkM2ZlZmVmNjA0&sharecount=NA%3D%3D


FYI per SFChron Dec 28:
Singapore’s oldest café had only one outpost in NorCA, which will reopen: Killiney Kopitiam at 552 Waverly St. in downtown Palo Alto closed on Dec. 26, 2023. Fortunately, the chain’s “flagship” location will reopen Spring 2024 at the food-packed Westfield Valley Fair shopping center in San Jose. 2855 Stevens Creek Blvd, Santa Clara

My note: Valley Fair, btw, was smart in switching from hidebound retail giants to in-demand restaurants, such as Din Tai Fung, Baekjeong and Mario Batali’s Eataly: it has the highest mall sales per sq. ft. in the entire state of CA.

Parche - Contemporary Columbian
2295 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612
Parche/Oakland - Dinner Menu

Eater did a writeup prior to its opening: Canela Bistro Alum Embraces His Colombian Roots


Rio California - best Brazilian food in the SFBA! Their feijoada tastes exactly like the one our Brazilian friend used to make for us (pronounced " fay-jwa-dah, with a soft ‘j’ that sounds almost like an ‘sh’). The feijoda is served only on Wed & Thurs; the cafe is aimed at downtown workers so they are open only M-F for lunch.

Preservation Park is a delightful little urban renewal park smack in the midst of Downtown Oakland. Rio California is inside the park, just walk towards the center and you’ll see the signboards. Dining is mostly outdoors, btw; they have very few tables inside.

Rio California Cafe


Haitian (have not tried this place):

901 Washington St. Oakland
inside Swan Marketplace, Old Oakland district

Reports are very good on the oxtails, griot, jerk chicken. Cocktails only(?). Replaced Miss Ollie’s, a much-loved Caribbean restaurant.


Hunanese cuisine is somewhat different than Sichuan, the latter being more commonly found.

Wojia Hunan Cuisine
917 San Pablo Ave. @Solano Ave., Albany, CA
(Note: Do NOT park in the lot next to the restaurant! That belongs to the businesses on the LH side)
Just off Hwy 80 at the Buchanan St. exit.
Wojia Hunan: Menus

In addition to Hunan’s characteristically fiery dishes, Wojia also delves into the region’s smoky flavors — try the “special fried rice” with smoked pork or the smoky grilled pork chop dusted with cumin and crispy garlic. The savory fried glutinous rice balls are also an immediate showstopper and local favorite, and beautifully presented. In addition to Hunan’s characteristically fiery dishes, Wojia also delves into the region’s smoky flavors — try the “special fried rice” with smoked pork or the smoky grilled pork chop dusted with cumin and crispy garlic. The savory fried glutinous rice balls are also an immediate showstopper and local favorite.)

A group of us Chowhounders went there 2018 but alas, when Chowhound died so did the Google links to the writeup the diners all contributed to.

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I arranged that Wojia lunch, and started topics in both CH and HO. The HO one is still here:


Thanks, Ernie! I knew some folks tried to save the old Chowhound reports, but I didn’t have any links.

Pucquio draws its contemporary take on Peruvian cuisine from the artistry and traditions of its country of origin. The very tiny restaurant delivers favorites like aji de gallina and arroz con mariscos with unexpected details like olives, walnuts, and parmesan cheese. On the dessert menu too, riffs on Peruvian pastries like sweet potato donuts filled with dulce de leche and rice pudding brulee with purple corn sorbet are memorable deviations from the norm. // 5337 College Ave. (Oakland), https://www.pucquio.com/menu

My spouse and I love Peruvian food but menus tend to be the same in all of them. The exception was Pucquio in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood. Owner/chef Carlos Moreira does traditional dishes with genuine creative flair. A simple dessert of ice cream with the booziest pisco-soaked currants ever knocked our socks off, LOL.

Sister Moroccan restaurants: Aziza and Mourad.

Absolutely DO NOT MISS the couscous at either restaurant. Owner Mourad Lahlou’s recipe for it takes 10 hrs and it is exquisite!

Mourad is more upscale, creative Moroccan preps without the overhyped belly dancing/draped walls shtick. Aziza is the equally creative but more relaxed CA-Moroccan little brother, more neighborhood/less fancy (note: parking is WICKED hard in the Richmond district where it’s at; I used to live there).

For the Moroccan tourist experience (if it’s your first time with this cuisine), go to El Mansour/SF; for better quality/impressive execution go to Mourad. For amazing fusion on an approachable level, Aziza is our choice – but do the traditional tourist route first if you’ve never tried Moroccan food.

There are only 7 countries in the world that are global food exporters. The U.S. is of course first and biggest, but Morocco is also one of them. It has a rich variety of foodstuffs and a long history of great cuisine.

Have not tried these:

Good Good Culture Club offers the flavors of SE Asia and the Pacific Islands. The colorful Mission District restaurant hosts a variety of cuisines, all wrapped up into one unique package. 3560 18th St. (@Mission), SF

5 Rare Dishes to Taste at San Francisco and Oakland Restaurants

This is a rare Napa budget article!
It’s from March 2023, so be sure to check to make sure everything is still relevant.


There’s a Peruvian restaurant in the Emeryville Public Market.


Don’t know if you’ve tried Ettan/Palo Alto yet. Copra, in SF’s Japantown, is coastal South Indian and Sri Lankan cuisines from the same owners:

Copra: Coastal South Indian + Sri Lankan Eats

Note some Yelpers ding them on service, but staffing is an ongoing issue for most restaurants these days, sadly.


In Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood, there is a delightful Burmese roti cafe, a spinoff from Teni East Kitchen next door:

Aman Cafe
4021 Broadway Avenue, Oakland 94611
(510) 922-8749
Open Monday through Saturday 10:30 AM – 3:30 PM
“…devoted to mostly vegetarian flaky, buttery Malaysian roti canai”
Aman Cafe: Menu

Teni’s owner makes wonderful roti, one of the best around. It became so popular at her restaurant, she opened the cafe next door to specialize in roti dishes.


In today’s Chron 18Jan2024, I posted this to the 2024 Northern and Central California Food News and Journalism [SF Bay Area, Northern California, Central California, Northern Nevada]
Aydea, New S.F. cafe serves ‘Russian quesadillas’ and rare pastries in SoMa


From Luke Tsai


Time to find a reason to go to Richmond and leave the gas tank and stomach empty beforehand.

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In today’s Chron, 20Jan2024:

Kopiku, at 1443 Lombard St. in the SF’s Marina district, serves pour-overs and specialty drinks made with coffee grown on small farms in Indonesia, sourced through the owners’ roastery, Beaneka Coffee. Kopiku is also trying to introduce Indonesian food through specials like arem-arem, tender coconut rice stuffed with meat, vegetables and spices and wrapped in a banana leaf, or fresh-baked sweets like buttery nastar (shortbread cookies filled with pineapple jam).

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Nice to see some activity on this thread! Pre-covid, most of the businesses were brick and mortar and I periodically revised the original post based on community input and some yelp-closure scripts. Doing so nowadays would be a lot of work— it’s tough to define or track “openings” and “closures” with niche cuisines and sub-cuisines available at food trucks, ghost kitchens, centralized meal delivery apps (e.g., Shef, Nextdish), and various things better-tracked on Instagram.

Anyway, @jahhh, businesses grown from La Cocina tend to be solid. Teranga and Azalina’s are two additional among brick and mortars not yet listed on that page.

Finally, the SFBA has lost the remaining brick and mortar businesses serving foods inspired by the following places:

  • South African: you can still get Amawales via apps, pop-ups, etc.
  • Canada: Augie’s Montréal Smoke Meat is still available retail and at SAP Center. Beauty Bagels merged with Wise Sons, and no longer has wood-fire bagels.
  • Lithuania - Mama Papa Lithuania’s owners retired in 2020 for non-restaurant pursuits
  • Istria - Albona closed in 2018, and was the only SFBA restaurant serving food from the peninsula that’s shared by Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy
  • Mama Lamees no longer operates out of the Emeryville Public Market but still does catering

FYI, just posted re a Chinese/Venezuelan restaurant in SF, called Cantoo:

2024 Northern and Central California Food News and Journalism

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SF Chronicle Feb 2, 2024:

New cafe offers Tatarstan goods

AyDea in SoMa opened mid-January and is the only San Francisco cafe specializing in pastries and dishes from Tatarstan, a Russian republic located east of Moscow with its own language and culture. Find egg sandwiches made from zang, a thick laminated dough; blinchiki, rolled crepes filled with yogurt and fruit; and uchpuchmak, a samosa-like pastry triangle stuffed with beef and potato or chicken. Spiced teas and coffee with house-churned butter or citrus rind are also available.

799 Bryant St., San Francisco. Aydeasf.com


Columbia’s expats are flocking to this place.