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Jun 4, 2011 08:46 PM

Good Chinese lunch spot in the Sunset?

On the second day of our one-week stay in SF, my girlfriend and I realized we left a gap in our dining itinerary. We've reserved for most of our meals (Friday dinner: Canteen; Saturday brunch: Canteen; okay, so we're a bit lacking in imagination), but on Sunday and Monday afternoons, we'll be emptying out her parents' home in the Sunset, and don't know where to go for lunch.

We'd be happy to hear some suggestions, especially if you know a great Chinese spot in the area. The home is 18th and Noriega, so anything close-ish to that would be a help.

Many thanks,

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  1. S&T on Noriega out in the 30s is excellent for a sit down meal; we usually go there for dim sum so I don't know what's on the weekday lunch menu.

    You can get pork buns at 21st and Noriega from Cafe Bakery for takeout, but they're much better than everything else.

    Lots of good other Asian food on Irving: PPQ and Yummy Yummy, both Vietnamese.

    S&T Hong Kong Seafood Restaurant
    2578 Noriega St, San Francisco, CA 94122

    Cafe Bakery
    1365 Noriega St, San Francisco, CA 94122

    Yummy Yummy
    1015 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

    1. If you head all the way out to ocean beach, Beijing restaurant is good for chinese food. Also chow-worthy, but mnot chinese, is outerlands or the pizza place on Noriega.

      1. not knowing where you hail from so just taking a stab that you may not have much exposure to hakka, san dong, or shanghai cuisine.

        -hakka restaurant 4401 cabrillo
        -dragon house 5045 geary
        -ton kiang 5821 geary (high end, has high end dim sum also)

        -dumpling kitchen 1935 taraval
        -shanghai dumpling king 3319 balboa
        -king of dumplings 1713 taraval
        -shanghai house 3641 balboa
        *some possible relations between shanghai dumpking king and dumpling kitchen.

        shan dong
        -san tung 1031 irving st.

        2 Replies
        1. re: shanghaikid

          I think you meant Dragon River Restaurant at 5045 Geary.

          For some Chinese deli stuff like roast duck and bbq pork, try Cheung Hing on Noriega btwn 30th & 31st (across the street from Safeway).

          Dragon River
          5045 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118

          1. re: shanghaikid

            Geary and Balboa are in the Richmond district not the Sunset.

          2. Some good suggestions in this thread, but my favorite chinese in the sunset is at Old Mandarin Islamic. Lots of great lamb dishes in place of pork.

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

            6 Replies
            1. re: Civil Bear

              Insanely good lunch today at Old Mandarin Islamic. I ordered the cumin lamb, which was not as dried as what I've usually had -- instead of an almost jerky quality, it was tender and oily, mixed with water chestnuts for some crunch. I also had the extremely hot peppers, which the waitress warned me against. It's very (if not extremely) hot, less so if you avoid the red peppers, which are diced large enough that you can eat around them. Finished all the lamb and about half of the peppers, which were robust and addictive. The orange quarters were a nice calming touch at the end, and I skipped the fortune cookies, which are said on CH to be the world's worst.

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

              1. re: tanno

                Glad you enjoyed it. I actually haven't had the nerve to try the extremely hot peeper dish...yet...

                1. re: Civil Bear

                  You should be encouraged by the knowledge that it didn't kill me.

                  1. re: tanno

                    Likely taking some friends to Old Mandarin Islamic tomorrow for a second meal. Civil Bear, what are some of your favorite dishes? I don't want to duplicate what I've already eaten there.

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

                    1. re: tanno

                      Lamb with green onion is good although I prefer the Mandarin (cumin) lamb. Also good is the lamb dumplings, lamb ribs, poached fish slices, and cold noodles with beef (ja jang mein).

                      If you are going with four or more, you may also want to consider going the hot pot route.

                      1. re: tanno

                        The lamb dumplings are great, very juicy. Get an order of green onion pancakes to go with the extremely hot pepper. Also they have delicious puffy donut balls for dessert. Not a fan of the cumin lamb.

                        Haven't bothered with the hot pots, but they are very popular.

                        There was a recent chowdown there when greyelf was in town, which you'll find if you search.

              2. Thanks for all these suggestions. I'm sure we will be well-lunched.

                shanghaikid, I've lived in NYC for 25 years, traveled to Beijing and Hong Kong, but I don't know if I've had Hakka or Shan Dong cuisine. What are their hallmarks?

                9 Replies
                1. re: tanno

                  If you have not had Hakka or Shandong food then you should one or the other. I have had meals at both and for someone new to both I would recommend Hakka since their menu has a wider selection of items for a newbie.

                  The preserved vegetable pork belly and salted chicken (not the order ahead one, one whole chicken is a lot for a few people) are two good choices.

                  Shandong food offering are more commonly found than Hakka food.

                  1. re: yimster

                    true, shan dong food is everywhere. shan dong meaning chinese immigrants from korea. but not everyone does hand pull noodles. many used a cranking machine instead. few do it by hand.

                  2. re: tanno

                    2 very good dishes from the Hakka chowdown and the report.
                    Arrowroot bulbs with roast pig
                    Pork bacon with preserved greens

                    1. re: wolfe

                      Not sure if fresh arrowroot is available at this time of the year. It normally available during Lunar New Year.

                      1. re: yimster

                        And when, exactly, is the lunar new year?

                        1. re: blexo

                          Well, it not the same every year. But normally it is somewhere from the end of Jan to mid Feb. I think the only way to know it to get a lunar calendar (it is available on line)

                    2. re: tanno

                      shan dong:
                      -hand pulled noodles made in house. a pounding sound could be heard when they are making the noodle. za za mein, braised beef brisket noodle soup are some variants on this
                      hakka cuisine.
                      -(steamed) salted chicken. garlic sauce on the side is what i usually order.

                      1. re: shanghaikid

                        Ah, but Hakka Restaurant in San Francisco makes the true salt baked Hakka style chicken. The chicken is roasted in salt, not steamed. That's the dish yimster is recommending above. I believe that it can be ordered as a half-chicken for smaller parties.

                        Hakka Restaurant
                        4401 Cabrillo St, San Francisco, CA 94121

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          Hakka only sells their baked chicken during lunch or dinner. not in between. they insist it should be eaten within half an hour or an hour, i forget. tried to order midday, they wouldn't do it....

                          nice to see different renditions. will figure how to order and eat it one day.....