"Authentic" Kung Pao in SF?
- Fat Polak Jun 1, 2008 04:05 PM
Where can I find "authentic" Sichuan-style Kung Pao chicken in San
Francisco? By "authentic" I mean the dish is basically meat, peanuts,
dried chilis, and sauce -- no "filler" vegetables as in the American
version. I am preferably looking for a place in the Tendernob or
easily accessible from there by transit (e.g. anywhere on Geary or
The only lead I've found on this board is a suggestion that Andy's on
9th Ave between Irving and Judah makes a spicy Kung Pao without
green peppers (don't know about the other veggies). Spices II on
Clement is also touted as a good Sichuan-style (Taiwanese) option;
their online menu has Kung Pao scallop and squid but no chicken.
Today I tried the old Sam Lok's in Chinatown, now called Z & Y
Restaurant. They claim to specialize in Sichuan and Yunnan; however
the Kung Pao chicken was bland and I had to pick out a mountain of
onion, green pepper, carrots, etc. I asked for some hot mustard to
perk the dish up a bit and was given a saucer of American yellow
French's. I could try asking for the dish without vegetables, but it
might be better at a place where they don't have to be told how to
Thanks in advance.
re: Dave MP
Following up on this link, I had the Kung Pao chicken at Panda Country Kitchen, and it may be the most "authentic" I've had in a while. While it was a bit sweeter, and not super spicy, it was very good. I should say my spice tolerance it quite high, so all I'm saying is that it was not super spicy to me.
I quite liked Panda Country Kitchen. They had a small plate of cold cucumbers in spicy sauce that perfectly hit the spot.
Anyone have suggestions of other dishes to order there? I'm sure there are some gems on the menu I'm going to miss if I order at random.
I would be interested in knowing whether you think the Kung Pao at Andy's is authentic or not. I don't know what authentic Kung Pao is like, but I found it almost inedible. It was about 15% garlic cloves. I didn't see any green peppers but I found the taste off-putting. They do describe it as authentic however.
I like the version at Eric's on the corner of 27th St. and Church. You can take the J Church streetcar there. Their potstickers are great. Lunch specials Mon-Sat cost bet. 6-6.50 and there's a lot to choose from, over rice, soup and tea included. If you like stuff spicier, just tell them when you order.
You may be confusing Kung Pao (gong bao) chicken, which isn't necessarily chili laden, with lazi ji ding (spicy chicken pieces) which is. Anyway, hot mustard is more of a Cantonese restaurant thing than a Sichuan thing, and it's a bit puzzling why you would want to use it to crank up the heat when there most likely was a pot of chili paste on your table which would have done the job.
Some pictures of "kung pao" chicken in China:
And one of "la zi ji ding":
re: Xiao Yang
Here are a couple "Kung Pao" pix to show what I am going for; a bit of scallion is OK but no other veggies.
The "la zI" looks tasty as well; thanks for the tip.
BTW, Z&Y did have a pot of chili sauce on the table, but it just tasted like oil and smoke, so I gave up after a couple scoops (I am not a heat masochist, it really was not spicy).
Dragon 2000 in Walnut Creek has the best Kung Pao Shrimp. You have to specify that you want the Chinese version, not the American version, even if you are ordering in Chinese. The American version has random veggies, and the Chinese version has smoky dry chilis, fabulously crunchy stir-fried shrimp, and peanuts. We have not been able to go to Dragon without ordering this dish!