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Chinatown food crawl

Hi all! After you led me on an incredible food crawl around Misison District, I was hoping for a similar plan for Chinatown. I've read through several Chinatown threads, but I can't find anything that would make a good dinner food crawl schedule. Help please? My only requirements are that I prefer places with seating that are all walkable once you get to Chinatown. And yes, all fantastic Chinese food. (Although I already know you're going to tell me the best Chinese isn't in Chinatown, so just the best you can find there.)

Feel free to give me other food crawl ideas. I love doing them, any neighborhood is fine with me as long as it's in the city. Thanks!

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  1. Hi - what day and time of day? You alone or with group of how many?

    9 Replies
    1. re: Sarah

      Egg custard tart at Golden Gate Bakery is a must.

      1. re: calalilly

        Chances of finding Golden Gate Bakery open are slim to none. It's pretty much become a seasonal pop-up.

        1. re: soupçon

          Don't understand your post. Everytime I walk down Grant Avenue - it's at 1029 - it's open and there is always a long line.

          Why do you say "...open are slim to none...a seasonal pop-up." ?????

          1. re: toitoi

            Apparently you didn't stop by there today--- they're currently on vacation!

          2. re: soupçon

            I think it would be more accurate to say that you never know until you get there whether Golden Gate Bakery's owners might have decided to take a vacation.

            There's no seating.

        2. re: Sarah

          Dinner, maybe around 7:30 or 8:00 start time, and probably only 4 of us.

          1. re: debbie421

            This calls for a visit to Sam Wo (on Washington, 1/2 block up from Grant) -- try the raw fish salad and a bowl of jook. Have fun! Report back please

            1. re: debbie421

              I know you said you understand where Chinatown SF stands in the Bay Area Chinese food pecking order, but I'm not sure if there are enough stand out dinnertime dishes to make it worthwhile. We come to SF maybe four times a year, always stay at the Royal Pacific in Chinatown, and NEVER eat dinner in Chinatown. Perhaps a more fruitful crawl would be in the daytime when the bakeries and dim sum shops are open.

              1. re: Chandavkl

                Agreed, a day time crawl would be much better. Almost all the take places on Stockton Street close at 6 PM. Lots of walk and eat food there. San Francisco Chinatown closes up early now.

          2. Everything is walkable in Chinatown. Clams in black bean sauce atb Yuet Lee. Breathlessly awaiting Mission crawl report.

            3 Replies
            1. re: wolfe

              Also at Yuet Lee, salt and pepper squid (even better than crab!) and roast squab. Shanghai Bund I like the tofu knots with pork belly, good for a crowd. Squab is $14, same price as a raw one at Golden Gate Meats!

              1. re: little big al

                Those tofu knots are awesome. The menu lists that dish as "pork belly braised in soy sauce"

              2. re: wolfe

                I've always had great meals at Yuet Lee; my daughter and others love that squid (I don't eat squid) but we always order the salt & pepper pork sparerib which is more of a cutlet -- no one else does this better. Love their chow fun (usually just veg.) If you ask for black bean in the veg chow fun, they'll do it. If you want to spend the $, they have fresh Maine lobster, fresh crab.

                They are closed on Tuesdays.

              3. How about Outer Sunset?

                1. Z and Y and Bund are right across the street from each other (and quite good) but I don't think I could tell you the go to dish at each. Maybe the gazillion pepper chicken at Z &Y?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: margieco

                    I'd say the go-to dish at Z & Y is the "Couple's Delight" (夫妻肺片). I haven't had a better version in China. It's also a good crawl dish because it's sized as an appetizer, and can be noshed on the go because it's a cold dish.

                  2. here's a few noshable things I like:

                    ❑ Couple's Delight at Z & Y
                    ❑ Jook at Hing Lung (+ Youtiao or Fantuan)
                    ❑ Satay anything at San Sun
                    ❑ Salmon Fried Rice at Washington Bakery
                    ❑ Gai Pie at New Hollywood
                    ❑ Baked Pork Bun at You's
                    ❑ Xiao Long Bao at Bund Shanghai
                    ❑ Steamed Pork and Vegetable Buns (northern style) at Good Mong Kok
                    ❑ Wonton Noodles at ABC

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: soupçon

                      The BBQ baked pork buns at You's are excellent. In the morning, The bun had a sticky glaze and a good amount of bounce to it. The filling is plentiful, has plenty of decent sized pork chunks, and is better tasting than the others I've had in SF. The filling does have a gummy texture to it, but the flavor is good enough to overlook that. Their Stockton location has closed, so find them at Broadway across from Yuet Lee.

                      Bund's XLB hold together better than Shanghai Dumpling King in the Richmond, but the soup is weaker. For someone who's not going to make it to the avenues, I'd 2nd your recommendation.

                    2. I did a mini crawl based on bakery suggestions on a few threads today. We hit:

                      Yummy dim sum: out of Mexican buns, so we had the yam bun. Very artificial tasting
                      You's on Stockton: permanently closed and move to Broadway
                      Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory: flat fortune cookies. Good tourist stop and they give out a free cookie
                      Wing sing: chicken bun was excellent and huge. Big chunks of chicken, and tons of bun. The BBQ pork baked bun had good filling but the bun wasn't as firm as I would have liked
                      Garden bakery: - Low Por Bang Wife Cakes, Dou Sa Bo Low Bau (red bean in pineapple bun) , red bean moon cake. The pineapple buns weren't anywhere near as good as those at Shen Kee, but they were enjoyable. The moon cake was huge and fairly cheap. I think I prefer the smaller and more expensive ones I've had at golden gate bakery. I wasnt too Into the wife cakes, but I've never had them elsewhere as a point of comparison
                      Golden gate bakery: my friend loved the egg custard tart. The beef curry bun was pretty tasty.
                      Empress of china: two mediocre cocktails. It's a great view and a cool trip down the stairs to the outside descending from the top floor. A trip through the center of the store to the lower level exits to Portsmouth square which is also pretty cool.

                      Overall, the chicken bun was the only noteworthy food item for me, but the egg custard tart is worth getting if you like eggy things. still plenty to explore, but not today... Even splitting most of that food, it's too much white flour for a human to endure.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: hyperbowler

                        Well if you body can take another too much food day then return next weekend when the flower street fair is on. Extra food stands with some not normally available street food. Not always the best but always interesting.

                      2. For sit-down meals, 2 restaurants stood out for the denizens of Chinatown, as well as visitors from HK & Singapore:
                        - R&G Lounge, especially for its salt & pepper crab, and
                        - Great Eastern, for its Cantonese-style steamed fish.