San Francisco has no shortage of great desserts and baked goods, so it can be quite an ordeal trying to plan where to go, especially if you’re pressed for time. I’m all for curated lists, so below are 5 suggestions if you’re looking to grab a sweet bite (or drink) in San Francisco!
As much as I hate to admit this, I will concede that our neighbors up north do have a pretty
respectable vibrant food scene. During the week of Christmas, a few college friends and I drove up to San Francisco and crashed at Rosalie’s family home, which is nestled in Outer Sunset.
Sometimes all you want is a piping hot bowl of liquid and protein nourishment. And Kim Chuy Restaurant, one of my favorite Teochew noodle soup shops in the San Gabriel Valley, offers just that. It’s become my go-to place for a hearty bowl of noodles and soup.
December 22 marks this year’s Winter Solstice. While it’s rarely more than a footnote on Western calendars, Winter Solstice (冬至), the shortest day of the year, is celebrated as a festival by many traditional Chinese families. It’s an occasion for family reunions and practically synonymous with a dessert dish called tangyuan, glutinous rice balls served in a sweetened syrup.
Koi Palace (鯉魚門御膳茶寮) is one of the Bay Area’s most well known higher end dim sum restaurants frequented by immigrant crowds. There are actually two of them, one in Dublin (on the outer fringes of East Bay, and the original in Daly City, south of San Francisco. It’s quite popular, so expect a wait get in for brunch during the weekends.
Kung Wo Dou Bun Chong (公和荳品廠) is steps away from Hoover Cake Shop in Kowloon City. One of several shops throughout Kowloon (the others are in Sham Shui Po and Tsim Sha Tsui), Kung Wo is an 100+ year old establishment best known for its soybean-based products.
Modern China Restaurant is a Chinese restaurant chain (with 6 branches in Hong Kong) that specializes in the regional Chinese cooking styles of Beijing, Sichuan and Shanghai. But don’t let the English name fool you, the food is anything but modern.
My first morning in Taipei, I had one thing in mind: having a nice hearty Taiwanese breakfast. Lucky for us, Four Sea Soy Milk King (四海豆漿大王), an unassuming neighborhood breakfast joint, was only a few blocks from our place, nestled in a residential area of Datong District.
Din Tai Fung is a name that needs no introduction among Asian circles. It’s quite possibly Taiwan’s most famous restaurant chain. It’s renown for its precise preparation of xiaolongbao (小籠包), steamed dumplings indigenous to the area around Shanghai.
Younique Cafe is an uninspiring pun on words but does serve pretty good Chinese cafe food. Back in the 90s, I recall it being a Cantonese-style seafood restaurant. In any case, its menu looks a lot like the typical Hong Kong Western-style cafe’s (akin to American diners), consisting of both more traditional Chinese options and Hong Kong-style Western food. There are a plethora of options to be found.
One of Hong Kong’s most well-known street snacks is the so-called “eggette” or egg waffle, or its Cantonese equivalent, gai dan zai (雞蛋仔). They’re called egg waffles for their distinctive shape, made to resemble chicken eggs wrapped together, served fresh to order.
While exploring Kowloon City, the heart of Hong Kong’s Thai community, by foot, I stumbled upon a shop selling this popular snack, a must try for any first time visitor to the city. So I caved.
Hong Kong is known for its diverse selection of desserts (甜品, tim ban), especially those that fuse together local Cantonese ingredients with Southeast Asian ones, like coconut milk and sago, the most iconic of which is mango pudding, a very light dessert, made with pureed mangoes, agar, and evaporated milk, and chilled before serving.
After getting a haircut near Times Square, a megamall in Causeway Bay, we headed out to try Cong Sao Dessert, a famous dessert shop just around the corner. After circling Hong Kong’s confusing city blocks, we managed to locate the place. Turns out the address on OpenRice was incorrect.
Sanxitang Teahouse (三希堂) is a contemporary tea house located on the 4th floor of a prominent Taipei tourist attraction, the National Palace Museum, or its local Chinese abbreviation, Gugong (故宮). While quite far from inner Taipei, it’s at least half a day’s worth of your time–there are 3 sprawling stories filled of carefully curated Chinese art collections.
Hoover Cake Shop is Alvin’s favorite egg tart bakery in Hong Kong. While we were in Kowloon City to visit his grandma, we seized the opportunity to explore the surrounding area and give Hoover’s egg tarts a shot. And yes, I concur that its egg tarts, made with duck eggs, are world class.
Joy Hing is famous, so famous, in fact, that it passes the Wikipedia benchmark of notability– behold its Wikipedia article [link]. Joy Hing has been around in some shape or form since the tail end of the Qing dynasty. It is an old school food joint, very low-key and unpretentious, serving up Cantonese-style rotisserie meats called siu mei (燒味). And Joy Hing does a wonderful job at living up to its Chinese name, “happy again.”