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Jul 29, 2012 04:50 PM

Visiting San Francisco in September and we *love* obscure, ethnic, authentic spicy cuisine!

We'll be in SF with our toddler in mid-September. On my list: Mission Chinese. Aside from that, I'm open to suggestions. We love dim sum and Mexican, so I'd love tips for fantastic taco shops and dim sum parlors (we typically dine at a large banquet-type place called Ton Kiang). We are traveling with kids, so we're not on the lookout for fancy places -- just down-n-dirty AWESOME must try's!

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      - order the Chef's Special Spicy Fish Stew

      Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant
      3132 Vicente St
      (between 42nd Ave & 43rd Ave
      )San Francisco, CA 94116
      - order the Extremely Hot Pepper la si ni

      1 Reply
      1. re: Cynsa

        Plus one on the la si ni at Old Mandarin -- I'm still thinking about that dish from this chowdown in 2010 on one of our visits: Prolly would have been back for it if the resto wasn't so far from the FiDi and there weren't so many other worthies in SF and environs!

        Burmese is also a must-try in SF, as is Lao in Oakland, for me at least. I like Mandalay and Vientiane respectively.

      2. If you are willing to travel to the east bay, you might consider Sahn Maru for Korean.
        The same neighborhood has several other Korean and Ethiopian options.

        1. Spices, dude.

          Spices I has the stinky tofu, Spices 2 has more entrails.
          Szechuan doesn't count as obscure around here, but for a lot of places, a good numbing entrail casserole can be an unusual treat.

          1. Go to Ton Kiang at dinner and get the "steamed bacon with dried mustard greens."

            The specialty at Old Mandarin is Peking-style hot pot. People drive there from all over the Bay Area for that.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              It isn't really like the hot pot I had in beijing a few years back, which is apparently a true specialty of beijing. You can't get it in Shanghai, either. I haven't tried Little Sheep, which I suspect is closer to beijing style - although there's a related chengdu style (but I haven't been to chengdu).

              Lots of people like OMI's hotpot, it's worth the trip, although I was underwhelmed.

              1. re: bbulkow

                What made the hot pot for me at Old Mandarin was the great dipping sauce and the optional "leek flower sauce."

                The hot pot I had at Little Sheep in San Mateo was totally different.


                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  It's well known, but The Slanted Door lives up to the hype.