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Jan 14, 2010 08:20 PM


I'm taking three out of town eleven year olds on a first time walk through Chinatown.
They are very adventurous eaters, so I don't need to kiddie food.
Any reccomendations on a place for lunch?

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  1. First thought? Dim sum at Great Eastern. Last year my daughter went there with a bunch of her sixth-grade friends and everybody loved it. Even the most timid eaters liked har gao and siu mai. Of course my kid felt compelled to order chicken feet...

    Great Eastern Restaurant
    649 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94133

    1. Mendo,

      I have not been there for so long. I really miss SF Chinatown. I know many store owners there too. Well, for classic Chinese BBQ like Cantonese honey BBQ pork, roast pork, roast duck, as well as wanton noodel soup and chow fan ... etc. I like to suggest King Tin. It is not a big restaurant, but it is good. It is reataurant with the silvered color with green letters:

      Although you didn't ask the following, I thought these are two other places to visit. The Golden Bakery. A very infamous bakery in Chinatown, especially for its Egg Tarts. There is always huge line there. Even if you don't care for egg tarts, you should just walk by and see the "long line". Sometime it can be a hour long line.

      Infamous Wokshop. Need I say more?

      6 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Thanks Chemical. King Tin sounds like just what we're looking for. I want a small, good restaurant for us to go to, on what looks like a really rainy day.
        I LOVED going to Chinatown as a kid, just haven't been there as much as an adult since there is much better Chinese food elsewhere.
        Thanks for the bakery tip, sounds like fun. I am also taking them to the fortune cookie factory.
        They are going to love it!
        Thanks again !

        1. re: mendogurl

          It's important to order jellyfish and tell them it's simply noodles. That's what my "bad uncle" manual says. Tell them it's really jellyfish after everyone's eaten some. Enjoy your afternoon!

        2. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Note that King Tin became New King Tin about 5 years ago. I think it's different ownership and I didn't think the food was as good as the original King Tin. Also, I'm sure you're referring to Golden Gate Bakery.on Grant Ave.

          1. re: Chandavkl

            Oh. Really? I left SF just about a tad more than 5 years ago. Is the New King Tin still do-able? And do you have an alternative restaurant to suggest to Mendogurl?

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Nothing to distinguish this from dozens of other places in Chinatown. Not bad but I wouldn't go back. Sadly there are no don't miss places like when King Tin opened up 20 years ago or Kam Lok 30 years ago (aside from the more expensive and quirky Jai Yun). I'd probably go with the previously suggested Great Eastern.

              1. re: Chandavkl


                Not so good huh? I love King Tin and used to chat with the waitress and the BBQ chef there. He let me tasted the BBQ meats before I buy them. If I remember right, he is the younger brother of the then-owner. Nice guy. Well. I won't go to Kam Lok given what happened there. It is not a very good place as long as I remember it. What about R&G Lounge on the edge of Chinatown? I didn't go there all the time, but its 'R&G Special beef' is pretty good.



        3. I'm sure you can do it on your own but why not consider Wok Wiz Tours. For lunch, I'd go to Yuet Lee.

          1. Here are some suggestions

            1) Hon's Won Ton House (yes it's a dive, like a run down coffee shop diner looking place inside what might be an endangered building, but it's cheap and not bad). Just get a bowl of won ton noodles as a snack, don't fill up here

            2) Golden Gate Bakery (as others have mentioned) - get an egg tart (and get in line).

            3) Dim Sum....maybe at City View

            4) R&G Lounge is arguably one of the best Cantonese restaurants in the area. Not cheap, but generally good quality.

            5) Grab a milk tea, lemon tea, or fruit smoothie with tapioca type drink at Washington Bakery.

            6) Lucky Creation Cantonese vegetarian/vegan restaurant. Stick with the dishes on the specials placard on the table (rather than ordering off the menu).

            7) Not a place to eat, but check out Red Blossom Tea company. I think they let you sample teas before you buy. Many other tea shops are tourist traps, but I've heard great things about this place, and they are English friendly. There's a place for fortune cookies as well you may want to check out (heard about it, never been), maybe the more senior Chinese American folks on this board will know what I'm talking about..

            7 Replies
            1. re: K K


              Agree. The R&G I remember is/was pretty good.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Yes, R&G is probably the best place in Chinatown. However, I'm guessing that young tourists might appreciate eating more in the middle of Chinatown.

                1. re: Chandavkl

                  I think R&G is a touch more on the fancier and nicer restaurants and certainly the up-scaler one in Chinatown. I still love the King Tin I remember. A small restaurant with very down to earth atomsphere, great foods with inexpensive price.

                  People always argue that Chinatown does not have the best Chinese restaurants. Of course. I know that, but it is ridiculous to compare King Tin $5-7 Chow Fun (for example) to some fancy Chinese restaurant Chow Fun which sells for $12-16.

                  I love American Southern BBQ and partly for the great foods but for the down to earth atomsphere and reasonable price. For $6-10, I get a very nice plate of pork with two sides and sweet tea. Then, I will have some people suggest the best meat is somewhere in New York City which sells for like $20-30 a plate. Really? I ususally don't say anything because I figure these people just don't get it. I mean. They absolutely do not get it.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    While fancy restaurant chow fun at $12 to $16 is very steep, that's what you have to pay to get generally better stir fry skills, better plate of food, maybe ingredients, though most of the money is going to real estate and other costs obviously. I'm sure the dry fried beef chow fun at R&G Lounge is excellent, though if the OP has guests visiting it's probably good for a starch filler during lunch, should they down a crab or something from their recommended chef's specials.

                    A HK style cafe that also offers Cantonese stir fry, rice, noodles etc, like Washington Bakery should provide a half decent alternative if someone wants for example a plate of chow fun, fried rice, or whatever white board specials they have on the wall, which can be off the beaten path stuff (unfortunately nothing in English).

                    1. re: K K

                      My son is an incredibly adventurous eater who probably would eat jellyfish.
                      We like dives, so it doesn't need to be fancy. I stopped looking for really good Chinese food in Chinatown a long time ago, but I will be happy with just good enough.
                      Either that or we walk through Chinatown and then head to North Beach. for Italian. Unfortunately the same thing has happened to North Beach as happened to Chinatown, but we could go to New Pisa or Cafe Sport, something old school tourist. Kids always love Italian.

                      1. re: mendogurl

                        For dessert, take the kids for a unique treat at the Sweetheart Cafe at 909 Grant.

                        Fried Milk.

                        Can't explain it, you just gotta try it.

                        1. re: baron45

                          Just a couple of thoughts about Great Eastern from an out of towner: the room is kinda kitschy but in a good old school dimsum way. When we went, there were lots of kids and they fascinated by the live fish/crustacean/bivalve tanks at the back of the resto. And the laminated sheets with pix of the dimsum seemed to go over well also.

                          The other place that we enjoyed (though there weren't any kids there) was Dol Ho. Small, stripped down but again old school in a different way. And the dim sum was very fresh even though we went at an odd time (late afty) for a snack. You had to know what you wanted as English was minimal...