San Francisco Bay Area rss

Restaurant recommendations, new openings, and highlights from the SF Chowhound community.

Nice Chickens

jhleung loves the Hainan chicken rice at ABC Bakery in Chinatown. For $6.50, you get delicious flavored rice, a quarter free-range “yellow fur” chicken, and soup. Skip the miserable wonton noodle soup, but try the Hainan chicken rice–you may be back for more, like, the next day.

Another excellent find: the salt water chicken (yeem-shui in Cantonese, yen-swei in Mandarin) at Porridge King, located in the 99 Ranch mall in Daly City. “This is my favorite chicken in the entire Bay Area,” says jhleung, who admits he has eaten it every Thursday night for the past twelve weeks in a row. The salt water chicken is delicately poached and served at room temperature, and has a highly desirable, slightly gelatinous texture. It’s not free range, but it’s tender, tasty, and ever so slightly pink at the bone.


ABC Bakery Cafe [Chinatown]

650 Jackson St., San Francisco

415-981-0685

Locater

Porridge King
in 99 Ranch Mall
250 Skyline Plaza, Daly City
650-992-8899
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Recent Chicken Finds

Saffron 685

rworange is excited about newly-opened Saffron 685, which serves stupendous tasties like Moroccan spiced hot cocoa (with cardamom) and french fries with saffron or balsamic aioli, as well as regular things like falafel, hummus, kebabs, etc. (lamb shawerma’s good stuff, says Benny Choi).

One of the standout items is the locally-made Turkish delight, especially the intoxicating cardamom flavor. And the house-made kanofa, a sort of shredded orange pastry full of cheese and orange blossom water and topped with pretty green chopped pistachios, is killer, even reheated in the microwave. Definitely worth checking out.


Saffron 865 [Design District]
685 Townsend St., San Francisco
415-863-2285
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SF–(Townsend)–Home-made Turkish delight is delightful and so is Saffron 685

Eggs Benedict

The selection of eggs Benedict at Zazie is highly recommended by several hounds. shnigglebob and Maya particularly like the Eggs Monaco, a toasted English muffin topped with prosciutto, tomatoes provencale, poached eggs, and hollandaise. Sip some hot chocolate on the sidewalk while you’re waiting for a table.

peterme’s favorite eggs Benedict is served at Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe, with “super divine” hollandaise. And many hounds like the eggs Benedict at Canteen, even self-described hollandaise snob Frosty Melon. Hounds warn that the Canteen stuff is only superior if main chef Leary is there.

The Benedict at Mama’s is also great. StewartsDinDin loves the Marco Polo (creative eggs Benedict) at Home Plate, and vwbug7 likes the Benedict–and the potatoes–at All You Knead.


Zazie [Cole Valley]
941 Cole St., San Francisco
415-564-5332
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Rudy’s Can’t Fail Café [East Bay]
4081 Hollis St., Emeryville
510-594-1221
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Canteen [Union Square]
817 Sutter St., in Commodore Hotel, San Francisco
415-928-8870
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Home Plate [Marina]
2274 Lombard St., San Francisco
415-922-4663
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All You Knead [Haight]
1466 Haight St., San Francisco
415-552-4550
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Good Eggs Benedict in San Francisco?

Amazing Roast Pig at Wing Hing Restaurant

Melanie Wong is smitten with the “boon fei so” roast pig at Wing Hing Restaurant. It’s the most beautiful roast pig available from the many delis along San Bruno Avenue in Portola’s developing mini-Chinatown. The boon fei so has fine-grained, bubbly, crisped skin and succulent meat well-striated with fat. It’s the platonic ideal of this type of roast pork, and it tastes as good as it looks.


Wing Hing Restaurant [Portola]
2550 San Bruno Ave., San Francisco
415-468-5309
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‘Boon Fei So’ Roast Pig @ Wing Hing)

Grease Is Good

Pupuseria San Salvador has some of the tastiest pupusas rworange has ever had–especially the loroco-stuffed variety, which is full of characteristic green tea flavor that even the delicious curtido can’t mask.

About those pupusas, though. “There is no way to be euphemistic about this,” says rworange. “These are some of the most flavorful pupusas I’ve had, but they are also the greasiest.” In this case, grease is good–it works with the cheese and the strong flavors, and is not remotely unpleasant, but rather adds to the yumminess. The same principle applies to the fried tacos–as you might expect. And if you happen to notice a batch of chicharrones being fished out of the hot lard while you are there, definitely give in to the grease and get some.


Pupuseria San Salvador [West Oakland]
1498 7th St., Oakland
510-763-1467
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West Oakland (near BART)–Pupuseria San Salvador–loroco pupusas & taco frito

Hot Banh Khot

Vung Tau II, destined to be forever overshadowed by its brighter, more talented sibling Vung Tau Restaurant in San Jose, is worth checking out in its own right for its excellent banh khot, says echo. The crust on the outside of these little fried tasties is crisp, and the shrimp-laden interior is tender and custard-like. They are served so hot that even wrapped in cool herbs and lettuce and dunked in fish sauce, they are dangerous. At around $7, they’re a bit pricier than some other versions, but well worth it.

Also try the banh khot at Ngoc Mai, which, though not quite as good as the Vung Tau version, are totally worthwhile–so says zippo, who keeps going back and ordering them.


Vung Tau II Restaurant [South Bay]
1750 N. Milpitas Blvd., Milpitas
408-934-9327
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Ngoc Mai [Union Square]
547 Hyde Street, San Francisco
415-931-4899
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shrimp cups at vung tau 2 (milpitas)–delicious
Ngoc Mai

Shanghai Fried Pork Buns

“This is the best tasting shan jean bao I’ve had outside of Shanghai,” says stanfordfoodie of the fried pork buns at Shanghai Flavor Shop. The bao are pan-fried crisp on the outside with a wonderfully soft layer just beneath. Inside, a good portion of meat is surrounded by juicy broth–be careful not to scald yourself as you bite down. The weirdest part–it’s good food near Stanford.

They also have great baked radish cake (baked buns with radish shreds inside).


Shanghai Flavor Shop [Peninsula]
888 Old San Francisco Rd., Sunnyvale
408-738-3003
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Shanghai Flavor Shop in Sunnyvale

Kulfi at Lahore Karahi

The kulfi at Lahore Karahi is really special, says Big Larry. It comes in irregularly-shaped hunks, speared with toothpicks. Mango, pistachio, and cardamom are all part of this ice cream experience–rich flavors, but not too sweet. And the texture is pleasantly solid. Eat it.


Lahore Karahi [Tenderloin]
612 O’Farrell St., San Francisco
415-567-8603
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Lahore Karahi Dessert

New Central Vietnamese at Ngu Binh

Ngu Binh is a new Vietnamese restaurant that appears to be focusing on central Vietnamese food, like the kind of stuff they serve in Hue, rather than Saigon or Hanoi. This place is only a few weeks old, and they’re still sorting out the menu, but hounds say it’s promising. zippo is charmed by the delicate bahn nam, little tiny dishes filled with a layer of soft, custardy rice cake, topped with chopped shrimp, chives, and croutons ($4.75). Ruth Lafler likes the thin, lacey crust of the bahn xeo ($6.45), with its distinct coconut flavor, but thinks the filling-to-pancake ratio is off. And Melanie Wong finds the bun bo hue much more delicate (“a better word might be ‘watery’”) than versions she’s used to. Those seeking the funky, fishy flavors and unctuous textures of hardcore Vietnamese food may be disappointed. However, all the hounds who have tried it plan on going back. Catch a late breakfast–they open at 8:30 a.m.


Ngu Binh (Dac Biet Bun Bo Hue) [Tenderloin]
formerly Hung Ky
337 Jones St., between Ellis and Eddy, San Francisco
415-346-3100
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Ngu Binh–new Vietnamese @337 Jones, SF

The Single Best Italian Rum Cake in the Bay Area

Where can you get the best Italian rum cake in the Bay Area? For once, there’s no debate–just go to Dianda’s. It’s the only Italian bakery that comes close to the great ones in Brooklyn and the Bronx, says sfoperalover. Robert Lauriston and RWCFoodie agree. Note that Dianda’s has two locations, one in San Francisco, one in San Mateo.


Dianda’s Italian American Pastry Co. [Mission]
2883 Mission St., San Francisco
415-647-5469
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Dianda’s Italian American Pastry Co. [Peninsula]
117 De Anza Blvd., San Mateo
650-570-6260
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BEST Italian rum cake in the Bay Area