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Chinatown-loving NYCer in SF for the first time...Walking Tour?

I'm thinking about a walking tour of SF's Chinatown when I visit in early Sept. - for the first time. I'm absolutely passionate about NYC's Chinatown, and have been going since I was a kid. How would a walking tour be? Thoughts/recommendations?

Thanks so much!

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  1. make sure you stop by at Golden Gate Bakery and sample some of their wares....especially the egg custard tarts and the coconut tarts.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gordon wing

      I wholeheartedly agree! I'm from New York, and these surpass New York's dan tats.

    2. Shirley Fong-Torres offers some wonderful walking tours of Chinatown. She's knowledgeable, infomative, and very funny.

      Here's a link: http://www.wokwiz.com/

      2 Replies
      1. re: Nancy Berry

        Thanks! Egg custards are my FAVORITE (so much so that I tried baking them on numerous occasions when I was in high school) and WokWiz looks great. I'm severely excited!

        1. re: Nancy Berry

          Shirley is great! Highly recommend her.

        2. Correct me if I'm wrong, because all my knowledge is second-hand, but from what I've heard, all the exciting, incredible Chinese food in SF, as in LA, is to be found in the suburbs (and maybe San Bruno Ave)... unlike NYC, where much of the action is still to be found in Manhattan's Chinatown.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Brian S

            I don't think that's quite accurate. During the day, Chinatown in San Francisco is a great place to explore and there are lots of amazing things to eat. For someone who "is passionate about NYC Chinatown" and who wants a walking tour, it definitely makes sense to visit SF Chinatown, since the point of the tour is probably not to eat just one big meal in San Francisco's best Chinese restaurant, but rather sample lots of different things along the way.

            Here's a post, which includes links to other posts, highlighting good places in Chinatown.

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/327526

            Dave MP

            1. re: Dave MP

              If I was wrong, I apologize. This was mostly an impression I got from reading Chowhound posts.

              1. re: Brian S

                The thing about SF Chinatown is that there are a lot of lousy restaurants too, you need to separate the wheat from the chaff.

                1. re: Brian S

                  No need to apologize. I do think that the point you make it more valid for destination restaurants, or someone looking for a single Chinese restaurant meal. But like Gary says, from a walkabout standpoint, Chinatown definitely beats everywhere else.

                  Dave MP

              2. re: Brian S

                None of the outlying areas are as rewarding from a walkabout standpoint as Chinatown, though. (I'd say Clement St. is a distant second.) We're not talking about destination restaurants here, which is another matter altogether.

                You ought to know darn well that a lot of the best Chinese food action in NYC now is in Flushing. I would argue that SF's Chinatown is as important a part of the overall Chinese food picture in the SF area as New York's Chinatown is in the NYC area.

                1. re: Gary Soup

                  I don't think anybody is saying that Flushing isn't the king of NYC Chinese food. I do tend to agree that NY Chinatown is more of a magnet than SF Chinatown is for the Chinese community. You can find Chinese grocery stores, authentic restaurants and shopping malls all over the Bay Area from Milpitas to Richmond to Cupertino to Newark to Millbrae to San Jose. Many Bay Area Chinese residents can get along fine without ever setting foot in Chinatown or Clement St. However in New York, you essentially need to find a Chinatown for your needs, be it Manhattan, Flushing or Brooklyn. And for many New York Chinese that means Manhattan Chinatown.

              3. S.F. Chinatown is a great place to walk around. Even though I visit San Francisco several times a year I never get tired of walking the entire neighborhood. As Brian S points out, though, the best Chinese restaurants in the Bay Area are nowhere near Chinatown. But it's still a great place for a Chowhound to visit. You're not going to find more reasonably priced food, either prepared or unprepared. One thing I suggest you do is traverse Stockton St. from Broadway south to Washington, and particularly the first block south of Broadway. This is not a typical tourist haunt, but you will find an array of grocery stores, meat and fish markets, bakeries and delis that is unparalleled. If you do a quick mental calculation of the volume of fresh produce, meat, fish and poultry that flies out of those stores, it's really incredible. No need to have a refrigerator if you live nearby since you can buy those items fresh daily. Also there are umpteen bakeries featuring dim sum items at ridiculously low prices, though there are no dumpling shops like you see all over Manhattan Chinatown.