Looking for Best Authentic Chinese in SF
I will be visiting SF this month and am a big chinese food fanatic. I am looking for the best sit down Authentic Chinese Food dining experience. I would really like to experience authentic and not american chinese. Any suggestions would be welcome for the real thing. Thanks!!
Make a beeline to Chung King!
Hole in the Wall - Checked!
No dining ambiance - Checked!
Cramped/tight seating - Checked!
Full of local Chinese diners - Checked!
Surly and indifferent service staff - Checked!
Authentic Cantonese menu - Checked!
Special menu written only in Chinese - Checked!
Cheap, but incredibly tasty food - Checked and Checked!
Was in San Francisco on business (staying at Mark Hopkins on Nob Hill during 6/20-6/26) , so we had the opportunity to eat in Chinatown the whole week. Ended up eating at Chung King for two consecutive nights because the food was so cheap and phenomenally good. The clams in black bean sauce was great as was their kong xin cai. Their peking-style ribs was out of this world and we highly recommend the salt-and-pepper whole prawns. The only thing I would not recommend is their steamed fish. We initially ordered the whole steamed rock cod, but they were out so we got the "sea bass" instead. The fish was tiny, probably about a pound or less and may have been a tilapia instead of a bass. It came out to $28 (seasonal price) for that little fish, skip it. This was not worth the price, get something else instead.
The bathroom is located downstair in the basement through a door towards the front of the restaurant. Be warned, the stairs down is very steep. Another word of advice, be prepare to wait a bit for someone to come by to take your order as well as to bring your check. Seems like only one person does the order taking, so she will take awhile because the place will likely be packed with locals and she will tend to them first (as she should). In any case, we'll DEFINITELY be back the next time we're in San Francisco!!!!! This place is a true hidden gem for real authentic Chinese cuisine.
Get your butts to Chung King Seafood Restaurant now!
606 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94133
Authentic and nice or authentic and hole-in-the-wall?
I'd check out R&G Lounge and Great Eastern for nice places with real Canto food. If you don't care about ambiance, try Yuet Lee. All in SF Chinatown. There's other places, lots of other places, but these are nice and dependable.
Otherwise, what Chandavkl said.
Great Eastern Restaurant
649 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94133
San Francisco is probably a little more tilted towards Hong Kong/Cantonese food than your other Chinese-American communities. Consequently, your top Bay Area choices are of that ilk, starting with Koi Palace in Daly City, moving into Millbrae for Zen Peninsula, The Kitchen, Asian Pearl, and Hong Kong Flower Lounge, and in the city itself, Hong Kong Lounge in the Richmond District. In many other parts of the Bay Area, the good Chinese restaurant choices are likewise Hong Kong/Cantonese style--not to dismiss the other regional offerings you can find, just to point out the numbers and strength.
Koi Palace Restaurant
365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015
Hong Kong Flower Lounge
51 Millbrae Ave, Millbrae, CA 94030
1180 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA 94030
3288 Pierce St, Richmond, CA 94804
Hong Kong Lounge
5322 Geary Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94121
The operative word here is "probably" "a little more tilted" toward hong kong. In several parts of the bay area, szchuan and shanghai are stronger and cantonese is weaker. Different towns and areas took different waves of immigration, and have simply self selected on linguistic and regional lines. The relative rarity of these chinese regional places is good for travellers, too.
Chandavkl's list is pretty good for HK/Canto.
For other choices within SF, look up Spices II (at least, my Spices IV meal was similar to what the OP's looking for), Old Mandarin Islamic, Panda Country Kitchen. And this Hakka chowdown: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/689236 Notice these places aren't downtown and will require some public transit, very reasonable if you're here for a month. The geary corridor is well served.
And search Jai Yun on this board - that's Canto.
Also search and read XLB - the soup dumplings around here are very shanghai style, not NYC style, and have attained a certain cult following. Maybe you'll get hooked.
680 Clay St, San Francisco, CA 94111
Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant
3132 Vicente St, San Francisco, CA 94116
291 6th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118
Panda Country Kitchen
4737 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118
Excellent point on the variations in the regional nodes. For someone for whom San Francisco is a special trip, I'm not sure if some of the smaller places in outlying areas are true destination locations. For example, I love House of Dumplings and New China in Union City and D T Dim Sum in San Leandro, but they're not on the top of my list for visitor recommendations. What might be appropriate, though, is to mention some of the malls that do contain a wide variety of choices, such as the Pacific East Mall, Cupertino Village and Milpitas Square, among others.
1743 Decoto Rd, Union City, CA 94587
3288 Pierce St # M126, Richmond, CA
House of Dumplings
109 Appian Way, Union City, CA 94587