- About to order at Cheung Hing
- The line outside Cheung Hing on a random Sunday night
- Clockwise from top left: bbq pork, roast pork, chicken feet, duck tongues
- At Old Mandarin Islamic: lamb dumplings and green onion pancake to start
- Spicy Mandarin lamb
- Now at Sunset Super, discovering new things in the sauce isle.
- He likes shrimp chips, although "they're not the greatest for your breath."
- Good prices on fish and crabs here
- Brandon says this is a great source for affordable live spot prawns
- Pocky and other sweet chocolate-dipped cookies
- Brandon remembers eating these White Rabbit cream candies as a kid
- Crab paste and shrimp paste are "flavor country" when added to dishes
- Ordering at Shanghai House
- The pork knuckle arrives. It's braised and then deep fried. Brandon likes to make tacos out of the leftovers, sometimes he'll share them with the staff at Bar Agricole.
- Lion's head meatballs get their light texture from tofu in the mix.
- Hand making noodles in the kitchen
- The hand-made noodles, after cooking
- Shanghai House, the aftermath
As executive chef at Bar Agricole, Brandon Jew cooks seasonal meat pates, chickens under bricks, poached eggs and such on a daily basis. So you'd probably never guess Jew grew up eating his way through the Chinese foods of the Richmond and Sunset Districts; or that he did a one-year apprenticeship in the kitchen at one of Shanghai's finest fine dining restaurants. In short, the man knows him his Chinese foods. Naturally Jew was game to take part in Chinese Food Week, and—lucky for us—he agreed to take Eater on a Sunday afternoon tour of San Francisco's Chinese food-ridden Avenues. Jew singled out some of his favorite off-the-beaten track, bargain Chinese picks, from obscure hanging bbq vendors to picks from the Asian supermarket. Check out the stops after the hop and lots of additional tips in the photo gallery captions above.
1) Old Mandarin Islamic (3132 Vicente St): Islamic communities drive the street food in Beijing, and that spirit lives on here. Jew loves the cumin powder in Mandarin lamb and the green onion pancake bathed in a ghee-like fat before baked into crispy layers. Other than that, order anything with lamb here and you're on the right track.
2) Sunset Super (2801 Vicente St): Jew seemed to find something on every aisle of this supermarket. He counts Chinese beef jerky, salty dried plums, haw flakes, ginger, shrimp paste, dark soy sauce and spot prawns among the many things he'll buy here for everyday uses.
3) Cheung Hing (2339 Noriega St.): Asian people love gelatinous and crunchy textures found in chicken feet and duck tongues much more than Americans do. Jew usually skips over those items and gets cuts of BBQ pork and white peppered roast pork. "Most people will bring this home and eat it with a bowl of rice to make a full meal."
4) Shanghai House (3641 Balboa St): There are two menus here, one with more mainstream items, and one with Shanghai specialties. Right away Brandon asks if they have the pork knuckle. They did on our trip, and you can see it in the gallery above. Other standouts are lion's head meatballs, xiao long bao, and noodles, hand-cut to order in the kitchen.