Ryan Hunter Bluestone lives in San Francisco and is an avid foodie and online blogger of all things related to the San-Fran food scene. In the following article, Ryan Bluestone discusses the reasons why this area’s Chinatown is regarded as the best in the entire United States.

San Francisco is known for many things: the Golden Gate Bridge, fog, and cable cars chugging up some of the steepest hills in the country. However, the city by the bay also has one of the best food scenes around, thanks to one neighborhood: Chinatown.

A History of San Francisco’s Chinatown Food Scene

Ryan Bluestone says that San-Fran’s Chinatown is the oldest in North America, and that it has a very rich history. Immigrants from China first came over to San Francisco in the mid-19th century, where they started businesses to serve the booming population that was coming to the California coast in search of gold.

Many restaurants started to open up as well. Ryan Hunter Bluestone notes how the rapidly growing urban areas provided Chinese immigrants with an opportunity to share their culture with many others, as well as to make money for supporting themselves and their families.

One of the reasons that San Francisco’s Chinatown has continued to attract foodies from around the world is the Chinese restaurants from the 19th century that are still around today.

Hang Ah Tea Room was America’s first dim sum restaurant, and it continues to bring customers delight with favorites such as siu mai (steamed pork and shrimp dumplings), lo bak goh (pan fried turnip cake), and char siu bao (barbequed pork bun). Ryan Bluestone says that another longtime favorite is Sam Wo Restaurant, whose claim to fame is that they’ve been serving casual Chinese eats since 1907!

Ryan Hunter Bluestone remarks that visitors to San Francisco’s Chinatown, especially those in search of authentic Chinese food, love places like Hang Ah and Sam Wo that continue to serve the same dishes from more than a century ago. What a wonderful way to experience history!

Chinatown Favorites

Ryan Bluestone says that whether someone has been to San Francisco’s Chinatown numerous times or it’s their first time, some places are must-tries and have been consistently serving the community for many years.

  1. Golden Gate Bakery: Walk along Grant Avenue and a person is likely to smell something delicious thanks to this bakery. They are famous for don tats, or egg custard tarts, and the line extending all the way down the block proves it. The smooth filling and buttery crust makes you want to come back again and again.
  2. House of Nanking: Ryan Bluestone reports that this restaurant has served delicious Shanghainese food for more than 40 years, and the long waits speak to just how tasty it is! They’re famous for their noodles and sesame chicken, and even though rents are rising in San Francisco, House of Nanking still remains affordable.
  3. New Woey Loy Goey Restaurant: Located in the basement of a building on Jackson Street, New Woey Loy Goey has a history that dates back almost a century! They serve Cantonese food at a great price (rice dishes are about $10) and customers keep coming back for standards like tomato and beef chow mein, according to Ryan Hunter Bluestone.
  4. Good Mong Kok Bakery: The line seen trailing down a whole block on Stockton Street is likely from Good Mong Kok Bakery, a to-go dim sum place. Some people come simply to stare at the giant steamers that hold every kind of dumpling and bun imaginable. Be sure to come on an empty stomach, because everything here is delicious!
  5. Hon’s Wun Tun House: Hon’s is a legacy business, and for good reason. Their rich broths and juicy wontons are bursting with flavors that delight the senses and the tongue. There are a variety of toppings to use, and do not skip the homemade chili oil.

Unique Food Experiences in Chinatown

Ryan Hunter Bluestone reports that Chinatown has some of the best Chinese food around, but there are also numerous places that offer an even more unique dining experience.

  1. Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory: This is must-see fun experience for all ages. Take a stroll down the tiny alleyway that holds this special Chinatown hidden-gem. Learn the history of the ubiquitous fortune cookie, found in everything from take-out places to kitschy shops. There are even hot samples to try!
  2. Hing Lung Company: Succulent pork with crispy skin is famous in the Canton area of China, and Hing Lung Company makes some of the best barbequed pork around. They also serve other luxury meats, such as duck.
  3. Z&Y Restaurant: For those who like it hot, Z&Y Restaurant delivers! This Chinatown staple is known for their heat. Ryan Bluestone says that this Sichuan restaurant serves dishes that will make tongues tingle and tummies rumble. Order some chilled beef tendon or chicken with chili pepper to experience the real deal.

San Francisco’s Chinatown is definitely worth a trip for any foodie, thanks to its eclectic mix of the new and old. There are a lot of options for different dietary restrictions as well. Book a trip now!