San Francisco
2. Washington Bakery & Restaurant

This normally bustling restaurant was one of the many eating establishments at risk of closing last year, having laid off most of its staff and forced to spend thousands of dollars on a parklet. It was in part kept afloat by partnering with pandemic-born nonprofit SF New Deal, using donor funds to provide meals for the needy, and its close proximity to Portsmouth Square and foot traffic helped (once people started returning to Chinatown). Indulge in comforting Hong Kong-style diner meals, like cheesy baked pork chops in tomato sauce over rice, or tea time specialties like deep-fried peanut butter French toast and Hong Kong milk tea. Go to the bakery side and get a box full of milk tarts, almond red bean buns, and pork floss buns for the carb addicts in your life. Or buy digital gift cards for those who long for the nostalgia of the restaurant year-round.
How to order: Walk in, call for takeout, or order delivery via apps.

4. Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory 金門餅食公司

The Chinese American confectionary invention is a classic, and the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory has been cranking them out since 1962. Weekends would see lines out the door of this small alleyway business, with visitors craning their necks to see fresh fortune cookies coming hot off the irons and deftly folded by hands of experienced workers. It was sad during 2020 to see the factory either closed, or nearly empty when it was open. What didn’t change was the staff’s generosity with samples, and the variety of giftable fortune cookie treats like matcha- and dark chocolate-drizzled ones, giant fortune cookies, and seasonal ones, like those sprinkled with tiny hearts for Valentine’s Day. The fortune cookie flats were and are always the best, though. If patrons buy enough goods, the cashier may throw in some free misshapen fortune cookies or a branded tote bag, too. Add a factory-branded mug to the mix, and you’ve got a great gift bag. Despite the pandemic difficulties, “We still look forward to good fortunes ahead. We are the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company after all,” says owner Kevin Chan. “Each cookie is made with love, by hand by bakers who have worked at the factory for years, if not decades,” he says with pride.
How to order: Walk in; large and custom orders can be placed in advance via phone at 415-806-8243.

6. Canton Flower Shop

The flower shop has been run by the same family for three generations, dating back to 1927. The shop is popular for birthdays, weddings, funerals, and even lavish grand openings for new businesses, with arrangements like lush tangerine trees decorated with lucky red envelopes. The shop has a generous delivery radius spanning from San Mateo to Alameda counties, and it does try to keep flower arrangements seasonal, which may yield pleasant surprises in each finished bouquet, wreath, or pot. The owners are helpful in crafting customs requests, so don’t be afraid to have a chat with them.
How to order: Walk in or order custom arrangements in advance via phone at 415-982-3997.