HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >

Best Scallion/Onion/Green Onion Pancakes in the Bay Area?

willbpayne Apr 8, 2011 11:28 AM

Growing up on the East Coast, all of my favorite cheap American Chinese restaurants had scallion pancakes (sometimes called green onion or just onion pancakes) on their menu; crisp and oily, great for dipping in soy sauce.

I've seen them on a few menus here in the Bay, but typically they are much doughier and not nearly that crackling delight I remember.

Does anyone know where to get something that better approximates what I remember? Or why the examples I've found here are so doughy?

Is it related to San Francisco's overly doughy take on the New York pizza slice? Discuss. ;-)


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Robert Lauriston RE: willbpayne Apr 8, 2011 11:37 AM

    Henry's Hunan's are thin and crisp.


    Henry's Hunan Restaurant
    924 Sansome St, San Francisco, CA 94111

    Henry's Hunan Restaurant
    110 Natoma St, San Francisco, CA 94105

    Henry's Hunan Restaurant
    1016 Bryant St, San Francisco, CA 94103

    Henry's Hunan
    1708 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94131

    1 Reply
    1. re: Robert Lauriston
      willbpayne RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 8, 2011 12:28 PM

      Cool, will have to check it out, thanks!

    2. a
      abstractpoet RE: willbpayne Apr 8, 2011 12:33 PM

      The scallion pancakes at Joy Restaurant, in Foster City, are very good and crisp (not doughy and not oily either). If I recall correctly, it's the one version I've had in the area that's the most similar to the home-cooked Taiwanese style I grew up eating.

      Others may have better recs If your preference is for a deep-fried version (which I don't like myself).

      Joy Restaurant
      1489 Beach Park Blvd, Foster City, CA 94404

      1. K K RE: willbpayne Apr 8, 2011 01:10 PM

        It is interesting that the Shanghainese and non Cantonese Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong offer scallion pancakes that are like sliced up multilayered fried crispy bagels (in shape), but a vast majority of places in SF Bay Area do a Taiwanese style that range from a fairly thin almost crepe like round pie to ones that can be multi-layered and "hand torn", to some Northern Islamic Chinese variants (baked sesame bread, of which some have scallions in them).

        I agree with abstractpoet that 5 Joy in Foster City does a pretty decent version that ofers a lot of middle ground, although it is not the deep fried rendition which is quite rare....I think last time I came across one was at Hana in San Jose, a Japanese Chinese place where they hired a chef from Sichuan, and their scallion pancake was called negi-mochi.

        1. escargot3 RE: willbpayne Apr 8, 2011 01:12 PM

          lottsa great choices for pancakes at the Korean restos in Oakland.

          1. Civil Bear RE: willbpayne Apr 8, 2011 02:41 PM

            Old Mandarin Islamic and Wonton King on Irving at 20th (of all places) come to mind.

            Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant
            3132 Vicente St, San Francisco, CA 94116

            1. Robert Lauriston RE: willbpayne Apr 8, 2011 02:51 PM

              I didn't find Old Mandarin's thin or crisp. I wouldn't order any of their wheat-based dishes again.

              I've never had a crisp Korean pancake. They're basically crepes with stuff mixed into the batter.

              1. r
                roseink RE: willbpayne Apr 8, 2011 03:03 PM

                The House of Nanking makes a decent onion pancake.

                House of Nanking
                919 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                1. intomeat RE: willbpayne Apr 8, 2011 03:41 PM

                  Has some at Beijing Restaurant...hot off the griddle, quite memorable.

                  Beijing Restaurant
                  1801 Alemany Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94112

                  1. cavolonero RE: willbpayne Apr 8, 2011 08:14 PM

                    best I've had is at Imperial Tea Court in Berkeley

                    1. s
                      snw RE: willbpayne Apr 9, 2011 05:06 PM

                      A few suggestions if you are in or near the peninsula

                      Classic Sichuan in MIllbrae

                      Sun's in San Mateo

                      Everyday Beijing in San Mateo

                      Cherimoya in Burlingame

                      Everyday Beijing
                      637 South B Street, San Mateo, CA

                      Classic Sichuan Restaurant
                      148 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA 94030

                      1. l
                        lrealml RE: willbpayne Apr 10, 2011 02:18 AM

                        I also find the the green onion pancake at Everyday Beijing to be very crispy (by my inexperienced standard).
                        I also agree that the pancake I had at Old Mandarin was neither thin nor crispy (but I had to have something to put the extremely hot peppers on).

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: lrealml
                          Civil Bear RE: lrealml Apr 10, 2011 11:41 AM

                          You are correct about OMI. I wasn't thinking about the "thin & crispy" criteria when a posted.

                          1. re: Civil Bear
                            bbulkow RE: Civil Bear Apr 10, 2011 12:35 PM

                            That's another question, what the "proper" scallion pancake is. I like my browned but with quite a bit of flexibility, not too crisp, and a little juicy/greasy, sort of a second cousin to a Roti, but with lots of scallion flavor (but not salty). I have no idea if that matches with others' ideas. Crouching Tiger, for example, often overcooks them but they have great flavor.

                            Crouching Tiger
                            2644 Broadway St, Redwood City, CA 94063

                        2. s
                          shanghaikid RE: willbpayne Apr 10, 2011 01:59 PM

                          yep, hunan on samsome has good onion pancake, especially for the diane pie.
                          honorable mention: pancake with onion @
                          liang's kitchen aka liang's village cuisine
                          19772 stevens creek blvd.
                          cupertino, ca.

                          1. d
                            Dawgmommy RE: willbpayne Apr 11, 2011 10:15 AM

                            Not sure if you're interested... or if you close to a Ranch 99. I got some already made ones recently that was quite good. There are lots of different brands, the ones that I decided to try were call "New Health", the brand/logo was very small and "Thin Scallion Pancakes" is in the center of the package. They were 8 to a package and @$3 (?)... You can heat them up in a regular toaster. Not that much onion flavor but thin, crispy on the outside and still soft enough on the inside. I've been having them for breakfast with a dash of soy dipping sauce.

                            99 Ranch
                            4299 Rosewood Dr, Pleasanton, CA 94588

                            1. t
                              trespinero RE: willbpayne Apr 12, 2011 03:49 PM

                              I tried making these before with poor results, anybody have a good recipe? Yeah I know probably the wrong place to ask, but throwing it out there anyway.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: trespinero
                                sfbing RE: trespinero Apr 12, 2011 03:58 PM

                                check out the food lab on serious eats.

                                1. re: trespinero
                                  Dawgmommy RE: trespinero Apr 13, 2011 03:52 PM

                                  Don't have a recipe, but recently saw on TV, where they used pizza dough (that's the hard part).
                                  After rolling the dough out, the onions were sprinkled on, then it was rolled into a tube, and then shaped into a spiral and rolled again, giving you the multi layers.

                                Show Hidden Posts