Food & Drink

The official unofficial insider's guide to SF's Chinatown

Published On 08/04/2014 Published On 08/04/2014
Joe Starkey
Joe Starkey
Joe Starkey
Joe Starkey
Joe Starkey
Joe Starkey
Joe Starkey
Joe Starkey
Joe Starkey
Joe Starkey
Souffles Cafe
Joe Starkey
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1. Garden Bakery 765 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94133 (Chinatown)

This cheap Chinatown bakery is a perfect spot to start your morning, with an array of pastries (spongecake, pineapple bun, pork bun, etc.), good coffee, and a relaxing atmosphere.

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2. Dol Ho 808 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133 (Chinatown)

This is one of the best dim sum spots in Chinatown, with fantastic dishes like their shrimp & chive dumplings (which you can order from their take-out window and they'll deliver in a plastic bag).

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3. Soufflés Cafe 1401 Powell St, San Francisco, CA 94133

Souffles makes made-to-order souffles (duh!), but know that it takes about 30 minutes. Order the durian soufflé and expect the place to stink up in the best way possible.

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4. V.I.P. Coffee & Cake Shop 671 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133

This typical Hong Kong-style cafe has a menu filled with baked cheese spaghetti with fried fish and shrimp, a club sandwich (in the form of a soup of course), fried quail, and boba. The best part, it's cheap!

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5. Golden Gate Bakery, Inc. 1029 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

The go-to spot for egg tarts. Bring these guys to an Asian family's gathering and get mad brownie points.

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6. Juicy Fruit 768 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94108 (Chinatown)

Forget paying $10 for green juice. You can get your green fix at this Chinatown juicery for $3, in the form of a concoction made with apple, cucumber, celery, bell pepper, and bitter melon, which tastes mostly like cucumber with a hint of spice. And if green isn't your ideal juice, they've got plenty of other tasty options on the menu.

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7. Ming Lee Trading Inc. 759 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94133 (Chinatown)

This place could definitely be described as the Berkeley Bowl of Asian snacks. Here you'll find a robust selection (two whole floors!) of Pocky's, ramen, crackers, gummies, jellies, and cookies. It's where all of your Asian snack dreams are finally going to come true.

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8. R&G Lounge 631 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA 94108 (Chinatown)

R &G is one of the nicer spots in Chinatown, with authentic seafood and unlimited amounts of delicious apps and unique drinks.

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9. Empress of China 838 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94108 (Chinatown)

Head on up to the 6th floor and enter the Empress of China -- you'll be treated to cocktails, fantastic views of Telegraph and Russian Hill, and half-off drinks and bar snacks if you go during their daily 3-6pm happy hour.

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10. Capital Restaurant 839 Clay St, San Francisco, CA 94108 (Chinatown)

The only thing you really need to know about this place is that they've got some of the best fried chicken wings in town -- lightly battered, extra crispy, and best doused in their chili sauce.

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11. Li Po Cocktail Lounge 916 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94108 (Chinatown)

Live music, Mai Tais, and Chinese whiskey are reason enough to come visit this divey cocktail lounge in Chinatown.

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