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18 Fantastic Asian Snack Shops in San Francisco

Bring a curious appetite, a zeal for new things, and most importantly, cash

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Welcome to the wonderful world that is Asian snacks — an emporium of hidden treasures that seamlessly groups steamed rice rolls, moon cakes, shrimp chips, and salad-flavored crackers under the same umbrella. It's a group filled with more Pocky flavors than you can imagine, and damn, it’s glorious.

Here in San Francisco, there is no shortage of these goodies, so you're sure to cross paths with them in more than one neighborhood. And even though you may know where to find a box of Hello Panda, that's child’s play compared to SF's endless options. With multiple San Francisco neighborhoods officially (and unofficially) dedicated to Asian fare, there's no excuse not to try the crack seed snacks in Chinatown, Taiwanese-style popcorn chicken in the Outer Sunset, and the softest mochi in Japantown. Note: We didn’t include rolled ice cream, shaved snow, and other Asian frozen treats in this list.

As of publication time, some of these restaurants offer seated indoor and outdoor dining. However, their inclusion should not be taken as endorsement for sit-down dining, as there are still safety concerns. Studies indicate that COVID-19 infection rates are lower for outside activities than dining indoors, but the level of risk involved with even outdoor dining is contingent on restaurants and their patrons following strict social distancing, face covering, and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Eggettes

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The name is self-explanatory — this is where to get eggettes, or egg-shaped egg waffles, in San Francisco. A popular joint in the Outer Sunset for tapioca drinks and the Hong Kong street food staple, this spot serves up egg waffles that are crispy and always hot, since they're made-to-order. Snag them in original, chocolate, honeydew, and coconut flavors. Cash only.

Wonderful Desserts & Cafe

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The unsung hero of boba tea cafes is the Taiwanese popcorn chicken. If you've experimented outside the drink menu at any San Francisco tapioca place, you've most likely tried the crunchy, juicy snack. The popcorn chicken at Wonderful Desserts is fried, seasoned with salt and pepper (and often times five-spice powder), and topped with fried basil. Again, cash only.

Pineapple King Bakery

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It’s safe to say there will be quite a few pastries you want to try at Pineapple King, hence the serve-yourself style of the bakery. Most people opt for the more recognizable dahn tat (egg tarts) and matcha sponge cake, and then there are those who go for the bakery's signature pastry: the pineapple bun. It's a flaky, sweet bread roll, with a thick slice of cold butter sandwiched inside. Cash only.

Richmond New May Wah Supermarket 新美華超級市場

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Sure, this Asian supermarket may be overwhelming when you first set foot inside, but the ice cream selection is worth the trip. It’s not just your average vanilla or chocolate; here you'll find a freezer dedicated to Asian-flavored ice creams like red bean popsicles, taro ice cream bars, green bean bars, and glutinous rice and brown sugar popsicles.

Maya Wong

Genki Crepes

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Genki Crepes & Mini-Mart is undoubtedly the most-frequented Inner Richmond dessert spot, and for good reason. The options are endless: There's a crepe stand, ice cream, tapioca drinks, egg puffs, and an impressive snack inventory. But best of all is the entire section dedicated to Japanese snacks like cookies and cream kit kats, Hello Kitty-shaped crackers, and anime-inspired candies.

Woori Market

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From freshly prepared items like gimbap and fried chicken to shelves stocked with ramen and the best Korean packaged snacks, Woori Market is brimming with possibility. Imported sweets, sodas, and teas are also available in refrigerated cases throughout the store. (For heartier fare, Woori’s owners recently opened Kitchen Woori in the Fillmore, offering grab and go banchan, bibimbap, soups, and more at lunch.)

Kissako Tea

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A small stand in the middle of the Japan Center, Kissako Tea serves onigiri, warabi (similar to mochi but made with a different starch), green tea ice cream-wafer sandwiches, taiyaki (a fish-shaped cake filled with red bean), and dorayaki (soft red bean pancakes), but most people get the mochi-on-a-stick. Try the mitarashi dango, three small mochi balls coated in a sweet-savory soy sauce.

Nijiya Market

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Nijiya sells almost every type of Japanese chip in almost every type of flavor. Take your pick from sweet corn puffs, arare crackers, deep-fried ramen noodle chips, butter soy sauce chips, wasabi chips, and plenty of different shrimp chips.

Maya Wong

Benkyodo

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Mochi is the specialty here, and the store sells different handmade types each day in flavors like blueberry, mango, red bean, age (fried mochi with sugar and red bean), and even a pancake-covered variety. Get here earlier in the day for the first-choice flavors before they sell out. Closed on Sundays.

Super Mira Market

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You can find almost any Japanese food inside this neighborhood supermarket from freshly-packed uni to onigiri and different varieties of fishcake, but the candy aisle is a sight to see. It's full of entertaining Japanese treats like Yan Yan, chocolate covered panda-shaped cookies, miniature chocolate mushrooms, and rice paper candy. Be prepared to choose a snack without knowing exactly what it is, since most of the packaging is in Japanese.

Daiso Japan

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As the biggest dollar store in Japantown, Daiso offers all your classic Asian snacks (i.e. Hello Panda, Hi-Chew, and Pocky) and also offers Chinese and Japanese drinks that are hard to come by. Iced Genmaicha tea, coffee jelly drinks, mango aloe vera juice, milk tea, Japanese soda, and Calpico (a light, somewhat milky Japanese drink) are all on offer.

Maya Wong

Ichiban Kan

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Similar to Daiso, you can find classic Japanese snacks at Ichiban Kan, plus a number of kitschy kawaii (cute) snacks and a heavy arsenal of Pocky in unusual twists like matcha, chocolate banana, almond crush, Brazilian orange, and heart-shaped Pocky.

Maya Wong

Ming Lee Trading, Inc.

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Welcome to the most traditional of crack seed stores right in the heart of Chinatown. Popular in China, crack seed are preserved fruits that have been split to expose the seed. Ming Lee Trading is stocked from floor to ceiling with Cantonese snacks that are hard to find elsewhere, like packs of dried cuttlefish, Chinese plum candy discs, and a selection of slurpable mini jelly cups in flavors like lychee, pineapple, and mango. Cash only.

Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory 金門餅食公司

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More than a place to buy a bag of fortune cookies to munch on, Golden Gate Fortune Cookies is a small fortune cookie factory where you can see the cookies being made and literally buy them hot off the press. But don’t just stick to fortune cookies — pick up a bag of almond cookies, almond and sesame seed crackers, and Smackles Chinese sweet chips, too. Once again: cash only.

Bake Cheese Tart

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Based in Hokkaido, Japan, Bake Cheese Tart makes little tarts filled with a three-cheese mousse, baked until golden brown. They’re creamy and custardy with a cheesecake flavor — that is, unless you order the matcha-infused version. Go early or expect long, long, long lines.

Dragon Papa - Temporarily Closed

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Note: Dragon Papa is temporarily closed. It can be ordered via phone or through UberEats until further notice.

The specialty here is Chinese dragon’s beard candy, a hand-pulled, cotton candy-like confection filled with crushed peanuts and sesame seeds. Dragon Papa makes them fresh, so you can often see someone pulling long strands in the window. The result is fragile, messy, and unique — the original is classic for a reason, but you can also try them in flavors like mango, strawberry, and matcha.

Eastern Bakery

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Even though Eastern Bakery is known for its trademark coffee crunch cake, you can find homey Cantonese snacks here, too. The bakery makes fresh joong (aka “Chinese tamales”) daily, and does it well. The joong here are fat and pillowy (as they should be) and are either savory (glutinous rice filled with pork, peanuts, and duck egg yolk) or sweet (glutinous rice filled with red bean paste). Try both for a taste of Cantonese comfort food, and don’t forget — it’s cash only.

Minamoto Kitchoan

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At this elegant outpost of a small Japanese chain, you’ll find treats wrapped up so ornately — and priced accordingly — that they make great gifts. In addition to gloriously soft mochi, there are jelly-covered cherries, tiny cakes shaped like bunnies, cream-filled waffle cookies, and steamed buns brimming with bean paste.

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Eggettes

The name is self-explanatory — this is where to get eggettes, or egg-shaped egg waffles, in San Francisco. A popular joint in the Outer Sunset for tapioca drinks and the Hong Kong street food staple, this spot serves up egg waffles that are crispy and always hot, since they're made-to-order. Snag them in original, chocolate, honeydew, and coconut flavors. Cash only.

Wonderful Desserts & Cafe

The unsung hero of boba tea cafes is the Taiwanese popcorn chicken. If you've experimented outside the drink menu at any San Francisco tapioca place, you've most likely tried the crunchy, juicy snack. The popcorn chicken at Wonderful Desserts is fried, seasoned with salt and pepper (and often times five-spice powder), and topped with fried basil. Again, cash only.

Pineapple King Bakery

It’s safe to say there will be quite a few pastries you want to try at Pineapple King, hence the serve-yourself style of the bakery. Most people opt for the more recognizable dahn tat (egg tarts) and matcha sponge cake, and then there are those who go for the bakery's signature pastry: the pineapple bun. It's a flaky, sweet bread roll, with a thick slice of cold butter sandwiched inside. Cash only.

Richmond New May Wah Supermarket 新美華超級市場

Maya Wong

Sure, this Asian supermarket may be overwhelming when you first set foot inside, but the ice cream selection is worth the trip. It’s not just your average vanilla or chocolate; here you'll find a freezer dedicated to Asian-flavored ice creams like red bean popsicles, taro ice cream bars, green bean bars, and glutinous rice and brown sugar popsicles.

Maya Wong

Genki Crepes

Genki Crepes & Mini-Mart is undoubtedly the most-frequented Inner Richmond dessert spot, and for good reason. The options are endless: There's a crepe stand, ice cream, tapioca drinks, egg puffs, and an impressive snack inventory. But best of all is the entire section dedicated to Japanese snacks like cookies and cream kit kats, Hello Kitty-shaped crackers, and anime-inspired candies.

Woori Market

From freshly prepared items like gimbap and fried chicken to shelves stocked with ramen and the best Korean packaged snacks, Woori Market is brimming with possibility. Imported sweets, sodas, and teas are also available in refrigerated cases throughout the store. (For heartier fare, Woori’s owners recently opened Kitchen Woori in the Fillmore, offering grab and go banchan, bibimbap, soups, and more at lunch.)

Kissako Tea

A small stand in the middle of the Japan Center, Kissako Tea serves onigiri, warabi (similar to mochi but made with a different starch), green tea ice cream-wafer sandwiches, taiyaki (a fish-shaped cake filled with red bean), and dorayaki (soft red bean pancakes), but most people get the mochi-on-a-stick. Try the mitarashi dango, three small mochi balls coated in a sweet-savory soy sauce.

Nijiya Market

Maya Wong

Nijiya sells almost every type of Japanese chip in almost every type of flavor. Take your pick from sweet corn puffs, arare crackers, deep-fried ramen noodle chips, butter soy sauce chips, wasabi chips, and plenty of different shrimp chips.

Maya Wong

Benkyodo

Mochi is the specialty here, and the store sells different handmade types each day in flavors like blueberry, mango, red bean, age (fried mochi with sugar and red bean), and even a pancake-covered variety. Get here earlier in the day for the first-choice flavors before they sell out. Closed on Sundays.

Super Mira Market

You can find almost any Japanese food inside this neighborhood supermarket from freshly-packed uni to onigiri and different varieties of fishcake, but the candy aisle is a sight to see. It's full of entertaining Japanese treats like Yan Yan, chocolate covered panda-shaped cookies, miniature chocolate mushrooms, and rice paper candy. Be prepared to choose a snack without knowing exactly what it is, since most of the packaging is in Japanese.

Daiso Japan

Maya Wong

As the biggest dollar store in Japantown, Daiso offers all your classic Asian snacks (i.e. Hello Panda, Hi-Chew, and Pocky) and also offers Chinese and Japanese drinks that are hard to come by. Iced Genmaicha tea, coffee jelly drinks, mango aloe vera juice, milk tea, Japanese soda, and Calpico (a light, somewhat milky Japanese drink) are all on offer.

Maya Wong

Ichiban Kan

Maya Wong

Similar to Daiso, you can find classic Japanese snacks at Ichiban Kan, plus a number of kitschy kawaii (cute) snacks and a heavy arsenal of Pocky in unusual twists like matcha, chocolate banana, almond crush, Brazilian orange, and heart-shaped Pocky.

Maya Wong

Ming Lee Trading, Inc.

Welcome to the most traditional of crack seed stores right in the heart of Chinatown. Popular in China, crack seed are preserved fruits that have been split to expose the seed. Ming Lee Trading is stocked from floor to ceiling with Cantonese snacks that are hard to find elsewhere, like packs of dried cuttlefish, Chinese plum candy discs, and a selection of slurpable mini jelly cups in flavors like lychee, pineapple, and mango. Cash only.

Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory 金門餅食公司

More than a place to buy a bag of fortune cookies to munch on, Golden Gate Fortune Cookies is a small fortune cookie factory where you can see the cookies being made and literally buy them hot off the press. But don’t just stick to fortune cookies — pick up a bag of almond cookies, almond and sesame seed crackers, and Smackles Chinese sweet chips, too. Once again: cash only.

Bake Cheese Tart