San Francisco Chinatown Eats
After a longer visit to Alcatraz than first anticipated we were definitely ready for lunch by the time we departed the ferry. We hopped in an uber for a short ride to Lai Hong Lounge in San Francisco’s famed Chinatown. We knew that we’d come to the right place when we discovered that we were the only English-speaking diners at the restaurant. Known for some of the best dumplings and dim sum in the city, we tried to pick a variety of things from the menu with the help of our waiter.
We knew that we definitely wanted to try the pork soup dumplings after watching Anthony Bourdain rave about them on countless episodes of No Reservations. These little unique dumplings are filled with soup and somehow don’t manage to burst until you pop them into your mouth. Not being the most adept with chopsticks I’m afraid that I lost some of the delicious liquid before the dumpling could make it to my mouth. The umami-laden broth was perfumed by pork and just salty-enough, I imagine that if I had access to these when I have a cold, I’d be better in no time!
We also ordered something that I would normally wouldn’t approach but wanted to be adventurous so we gave the Chinese duck wings a shot. I think that I was anticipating a crunchy soy sauce glazed creation but instead they were served cold, a tad chewy, on top of a bowl of boiled peanuts. Determined not to be a hater I ate three of them! I wouldn’t say I loved them but it’s good to sometimes suck it up and step out of your comfort-zone!
I absolutely loved these little fried shrimp dumplings that came with sweet Kewpie mayo. I thought that the dumplings would have ground shrimp inside of them but was surprised to find that when I bit into the puffy shell, a whole steamed shrimp tumbled out!
Being a shrimp lover, we also ordered shrimp and chive dumplings that came out steamed and with the more traditional ground shrimp filling I had anticipated in the first dumpling.
Lastly, we couldn’t pass up trying a fluffy bao and settled on the BBQ pork. The dough was just sweet enough and the BBQ pork filling piping hot!
Needing to walk off the all those bao and dumpling, we took a stroll around the Chinatown neighborhood stopping in a few stores and people watching residents go about their day. I loved the open-air market and food shops in the neighborhood and seeing great/crazy ingredients from all over the world. Fruits, vegetables and proteins that I certainly don’t come across at Trader Joe’s dotted the Chinatown streets. I know that there are so many acclaimed restaurants in the Chinatown neighborhood and am already looking forward to my next visit so I can try more!
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