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Apr 5, 2010 09:01 AM

San Francisco Chinese NO MSG?

Here in SF with someone who hates being lied to in Chinese restaurants with assurances of no MSG only to get unpleasant reactions from the stuff. Any solid recommendations on places to go which will not wreck my day? Prefer Shanghai style, but any fresh Chinese will do.

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  1. Similar question last month for the Peninsula area. Contains useful general information.

    1. Henry's Hunan (about as far from the Shanghainese flavor profile as you can get) has always trumpeted its freedom from MSG.

      1. Bund Shanghai on Jackson at Grant.

        We had their XLB and also the red-braised pork shank and they were great. Best XLB we've had.

        Bund Shanghai
        640 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA

        1. As has been mentioned in earlier posts, many restaurants honestly advertise no MSG. They cannot control the MSG content in some manufactured condiments. Depending upon your sensitivity, that can be a problem. Also, I have found that age deadens your MSG sensitivity. Just be patient.

          1. I'm with you, I prefer to avoid cheap flavor crutches of all kinds (of which MSG, added in concentrated form, is the most notorious).

            Keep in mind that glutamates are among the common naturally occurring flavor-enhancing components in "umami" ingredients of many kinds, from meats to seaweeds. To my knowledge, no restaurant is totally free of MSG for that reason. A person acutely sensitivity to it might watch out for concentrated meat stocks, fermented foods, etc.

            News: Lately, shrewd processed-food manufacturers are substituting Ammonium Glutamate and boasting "No MSG!" even though the action of the ammonium salt is essentially the same (except for people with high sodium sensitivity, in which case other ingredients such as table salt and naturally occurring sodium are probably dominant sources anyway). Ammonium Glutamate may show up in restaurants.