How to spend the perfect day eating and drinking in Chinatown
As the most established and oldest Chinatown in North America, San Francisco’s C Townholds a bustling labyrinth beyond the iconic Dragon’s Gate of alleys and street brimming with eateries, herbalists, massage parlors and cocktail lounges. Here's where to find our favorite eats in this vibrant neighborhood.
Chong Qing Xiao Mian
Engulf your taste buds in flavorful, tingly sauces over springy noodles topped with a variety of meats at this Szechuan-style gem. The Tan Tan noodles are popular, but we prefer the house cold noodles made with Szechuan peppercorn. 915 Kearny St
Good Mong Kok Bakery
It's worth the wait for the affordable dumplings and buns here. We recommend the fluffy, stuffed barbecue bun, juicy dumplings, shumai and egg tarts. The menu is vast and the service is speedy—a winning combination. 1039 Stockton St
Vital Tea Leaf
Take a seat at the long bar and one of Vital Tea's eccentric baristas will teach you an important lesson on mixing tea leaves, the benefits of each and how to brew tea properly. You'll emerge enlightened and with a new blend made just for you. 1044 Grant Ave
Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory
Fortune cookies are hand-stuffed at this little factory, tucked away down an alley where it has resided since 1962. Nontraditional flavors like vanilla, green tea and strawberry make it a bucket-list destination. 56 Ross Alley
Li Po Cocktail Lounge
Anthony Bourdain visited this small dive bar, filed with kitschy tavern vibes from the '50s, in search of its famous Chinese mai tai, made with three kinds of rum, Chinese liqueur and pineapple juice. He wasn't disappointed, and you won't be either. 916 Grant Ave (lipolounge.com)
For standard Chinese fare, make your way to this affordable eatery and choose from its top picks: rice noodles, wonton soup, chow fun, congee and Chinese doughnuts. It's open until 3am on weekend—perfect for soaking up any boozy mistakes. 713 Clay St (samworestaurant.com)
See the story on Time Out.