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In SF for two days - looking for Chinese for Lunch and Dinner!

Hey everyone:

Long time lurker, first time poster. My wife and I are going to be visiting relatives in San Francisco for two days on our way to Hawaii, and we're looking to get a mess of Chinese food while we're in the area. We will be in town this Wednesday and Thursday (12/2 and 12/3) and the sheer volume of reviews/recommendations on this board is overwhelming! I've grokked a bunch of ideas so far, so here's what I have! The groundwork:

1) Have car, will travel!

2) Wife is completely seafood avoidant, so if the specialty of your restaurant is Seafood, we'll take a pass (seafood can of course be part of the cuisine at the restaurant!)

3) We are a fan of the spice!

4) Looking for a sit-down restaurant!

Ok, here's what I have so far:

SFO Proper:
1) Panda Country Kitchen (4737 Geary Blvd Station) - SZ, order the Spicy Wontons

2) Jai Yun (680 Clay Street) Prix Fixe menu, a little worried that it might be too seafood heavy for the wife. Call ahead for reservations a day in advance if we want in here.

3) Citrus Club (1790 Haight Street) - Noodle house, fusion. Recommended by a cousin. Are there better Noodle Houses or Fusion restaurants in the city?

OUTSIDE SFO:
4) LIly's House (Lafayette - 3555 Mt Diablo) - Shang-Chi City Style

5) Happy Golden Bowl (El Cerrito - 10675 San Pablo) - SZ, DDM specialty

Additional Notes:
1) I am personally a fan of Spicy Beef Tendon (either as a soup, or as a course). Haven't found a place that has a stand-out Beef Tendon in my searches - any recommendations?

2) We are a big fan of Honey Toast. Yes, I know this is more of a Japanese desert dish, but if any places do Honey Toast, we'd be very interested in stopping by for desert.

3) Along the same lines - if there be no Honey Toast, yarrrr, recommendations for a stand-out desert would be great!

Thank you in advance! I've found some really stand-out restaurants through Chowhound in the past (Peach Farm in Boston, Payne's BBQ in Memphis, Sakura/Dim Sum Garden for Soup Dumplings in Philly, Woo Jung in Boxborough, MA), and I know y'all won't let me down :)

- Ben

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  1. That's an ecletic group of places you've noted which is devoid of Hong Kong/Cantonese style food, which for many people is the preferred Chinese regional cuisine. (Is this because of your preference for spicy food, which is largely foreign to Hong Kong/Cantonese menus?) Anyway, don't be scared off by the fact that many of the Hong Kong style restaurants call themselves seafood restaurants, because there's plenty of top notch non-seafood alternatives. In this regard I'd suggest Koi Palace Seafood in Daly City, probably the best Chinese restaurant in the Bay Area, and indeed the United States.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Chandavkl

      This is 100% true. I've realized at Fu Lam Mum (not worth a drive from SF) - a Hong Kong style joint - that I love the Hong Kong style BBQ Pork. Big plate of pork, cooked just right, $8. Sure, they've got tanks of fish, don't worry - huge menus at these places.

      1. re: bbulkow

        Good point--every Hong Kong style seafood restaurant offers multiple choices in numerous food categories--soup, noodles, chicken, beef, vegetables etc., so the number of available non-seafood items really adds up. Contrast this to Jai Yun where you have to take what they give you, though I don't want to discourage the OP from going there, as it's the most unique Chinese restaurant I've ever been to.

    2. Daimo right off of Highway 80 at the Central Avenue exit, El Cerrito/Richmond border.

      1. Sorry, but the Citrus Club is awful. I sent my food back last time I was there, and left. You could do better with closed eyes wandering through the mall.

        1. So to update with what has been said so far:

          SFO Proper:
          1) Panda Country Kitchen (4737 Geary Blvd Station) - SZ, order the Spicy Wontons

          2) Jai Yun (680 Clay Street) Prix Fixe menu, a little worried that it might be too seafood heavy for the wife. Call ahead for reservations a day in advance if we want in here.

          OUTSIDE SFO:
          3) LIly's House (Lafayette - 3555 Mt Diablo) - Shang-Chi City Style

          4) Happy Golden Bowl (El Cerrito - 10675 San Pablo) - SZ, DDM specialty

          5) ADD: Koi Palace (Daly City - 365 Gelllert Ave) - Cantonese Style

          6) ADD: Daimo (Richmond - 3288A Pierce Street) - Cantonese Style

          OFF:
          Citrus Club (1790 Haight Street) - Noodle house, fusion. Recommended by a cousin. Are there better Noodle Houses or Fusion restaurants in the city?

          NOTES:
          1) No particular bias for/against Cantonese, other than the wife's avoidance for seafood. Will probably try to his one Szechuan place, one Cantonese place, and an "other" - not sure what that might be yet :)

          2) Along those lines, Jai Yun will likely be the "other" if the menus that day are seafood "light" - but if not, all bets are off!

          Thanks again for all your help!

          1. For Shanghai, my favorite is Shanghai in Oakland. Total hole in the wall, but great cooking. There are half a dozen Asian dessert cafes nearby that might have "honey toast."

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/418973

            My favorite spicy beef tendon is nearby, at Spices!3.

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/46268

            Chinese-Korean / Shandong is pretty strong around here. Chef Yu's in Oakland, Great China in Berkeley.

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/389071
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/389071

            You never know what the menu will be at Jai Yun until the food comes out.

            Did you see the "Best Chinese, not dim sum, in entire Bay Area" topic?

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/604653