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Want to savor authentic modern Chinese food in San Francisco? Then head straight to the M.Y. China restaurant within the Westfield San Francisco Centre to get the real deal. The team of expert chefs, headed by the James Beard award winner Martin Yan, takes you on a culinary voyage to the Chinese mainland--offering a piquant treat for your taste buds. The delicacies served here are hand-crafted, from tantalizing dim sum to tasty noodles. The squid ink snap noodles served with seafood is a must try here, and so is the Kung Pao chicken. Round off your meal with a Beijing Street Sweets Trio or M.Y. Sundae Rice Bowl, and you are set for the rest of the day. A must visit for the Chinese food aficionados; call ahead for reservations.
Mission Chinese is one of San Francisco's pioneers of the pop-up restaurant, taking over the kitchen of the seemingly hole-in-the-wall Lung Shan Restaurant in the Mission District. Ever since its opening, Mission Chinese has been receiving nothing but the highest praise from critics, but the proof is in the huge crowds waiting to be seated at this no reservations restaurant at any given time. The "American-Chinese" cuisine (not to be mistaken for Americanized Chinese cuisine) takes beloved and obscure traditional Chinese dishes, pays respect to them, and then goes crazy with elevating them to the next level. Although the wait is long, the food is worth it. Try planning to show up, put your name on the list and come back later for to maximize your time and minimize your wait.
Hong Kong is nicknamed the “Oriental Pearl,” to where the practice of fine Chinese cooking can be traced. With this inspiration, the restaurant nestled in the heart of Chinatown attracts a huge tourist clientele as well as local patrons. The addition of authentic Chinese ingredients in its dishes is what sets the quality of its food apart from rival restaurants in the neighborhood. Enjoy delicious specialties like seafood clay pot, chicken chow mein, sweet and sour pork and BBQ spareribs. The dining room is replete with ornate Chinese art at every turn. The service is excellent while the ambiance is wonderfully sedate for a popular spot.
Reservations are not accepted at this extremely popular place, and it is one reason you will see lines snaking around the block to get in here. The other reason is the food. Though some might decry the less than immaculate interior, there are plenty who proclaim House of Nanking as the best Chinese food in San Francisco, if not California. The Imperial Rolls are extraordinary, full of first-rate fresh vegetables and succulent BBQ pork in a crispy, non-greasy wrapper. Hot and sour chicken or beef in garlic sauce and tofu with curry are also favorites.
This huge Shanghai-style restaurant features clean lines, good service and an outstanding array of dishes from which to choose. The menu runs several pages and there are always a good number of daily specials available, in addition to some very good Dim Sum ordered from rolling carts. You could probably eat here every day for a month and always have something new. The Shanghai soup dumplings are the big not-to-be-missed dish, and for something a little more fancy, the wine-marinated Squab, served cold, makes for a piquant dining experience.
Pink is the color of choice at Good Luck Dim Sum. This great hole in a wall serves delicious dim sum at bargain prices to locals from around the city. Walls, tables, chairs and menus all have a rosy glow that is a bit odd, but easy to overlook when you can buy two barbecue pork buns bursting with a savory filling at a reasonable price. Steamed shrimp dumplings in opalescent wonton wrappers are spiked with chives. There is nothing fancy here, just basic dim sum served cafeteria-style rather than from rolling carts, but the food is good, the service quick and the damage to your wallet very minimal.
The dumplings at San Tung are bursting with pork, chicken, beef or vegetable fillings that are dense with flavor. The favorite noodle dishes combine a rich black bean sauce topped with either seafood, beef, chicken or veggies for a hearty and delicious meal. There are also a few Korean dishes on the menu. But the most popular dish that has customers flocking back to San Tung are the dry fried chicken wings, glazed in a light tangy-sweet-hot sauce. Refreshing Chinese and Korean beers are an excellent accompaniment. The service for the local crowds who pack this place is quick and friendly, but you should still be prepared for a wait.
Located in the Outer Richmond, Hong Kong Lounge is a pleasant and welcoming Cantonese restaurant that specializes in Dim Sum. These bite size delicacies are freshly steamed buns or rice noodle rolls with a variety of ingredients packed inside. Other standout dishes at the Lounge include their steamed clams, fried taro and coffee pork ribs. Be sure to make reservations or check the time Dim Sum is prepared, as this is a highly popular restaurant.
Ton Kiang Restaurant, the home style eatery with formica tables and huge windows, specializes in Hakka cuisine. It is known for its flavorful and complex stews, among other things. There are many tofu dishes on the menu, but they usually mixed with meat or chicken. Vegetarians should double-check with the efficient wait staff before selecting an entree. There is always a crowd here, but seating is never a problem among the locals who have made this place so popular. Be sure to check out their dim sum service as well.