'Never eat Chinese food in Oklahoma,' one restaurant critic said, and if visiting San Francisco's Chinatown why eat anywhere else but a Chinese restaurant? There are certainly plenty to choose from, but here's our list of a few recommendations. Don't limit yourself to one meal, either. Theres no such thing as Chinese food – just lots of different regional cuisines, like Szechuan or Cantonese. Try one for lunch and a different style for dinner. These aren't the only good Chinese restaurants in Chinatown by any means, but none of them will disappoint.
649 Jackson Street
Seafood is a speciality of the Cantonese cuisine here, and the Chinese way is to have it as fresh as possible. That's why you'll see the tanks of crabs, shrimps and all the other seafood on the inventive menu. It's cooked fresh to order, to make it as tasty as can be. You can also get plenty of meat and vegetarian dishes here, all lightly prepared. Look for the pagoda frontage at Jackson and Kearny and check out their website.
HOUSE OF NANKING
919 Kearny Street
Long-standing favorite, where you probably will be standing in line to get a table, but not for too long as it's usually pretty fast-moving. It's cheap and noisy, but if you want something good and quick, and an authentic Chinatown eating experience, get in line for their Shanghai cuisine.
1416 Powell Street
If you want good dim-sum then head for the Lichee Garden, where the number of Chinese locals eating here will tell you how reliable it is. The dim-sum are freshly prepared and very light, with a range of incredibly tasty fillings. It's inexpensive too, and open daily but only from about 7am-3pm.
631 Kearny Street
If you're pushed for time then head for the downstairs dining room of this huge Cantonese restaurant, if you can get in. This is quicker cafeteria-style eating, and it's always packed with locals because the food is good value. Upstairs there's a more formal dining room, where you can linger (and spend more) over more elaborate meals, including fresh seafood, meat and vegetarian options.
1300 Stockton Street
Eye-catching from the outside, nothing special from the inside, but the Yuet Lee has some of the tastiest seafood and other dishes in the district. It's pretty cheap too, so another good lunchtime option if you want to get on with your Chinatown sight-seeing.
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