Visit the Country inside the City of San Francisco

Established in 1848, San Francisco's Chinatown is the largest and oldest neighborhood of its kind in the country. Drawing more visitors annually than the uber-popular Golden Gate Bridge, this really is a country within a city, twenty-four square blocks of Chinese American culture that has its own distinct hospitals, parks, social clubs, parades and, of course, restaurants.

The smell of Chinese food dominates most of Chinatown, whether it's the sweet waft of fresh egg tarts from Golden Gate Bakery or the savory soy stirfry sizzling from Chinatown Restaurant. To understand San Francisco's Chinatown is to eat in San Francisco's Chinatown, so trying some dimsum is a must.

Plan for a long stroll, too, keeping your eyes wide open and your ears tuned sharp as if you're a traveler in another country - because, for all intents and purposes, you are.  If you want the full history and cultural context of Chinatown, then don't skip The Chinese Historical Society. If you're an adventurous traveler who believes every trip - even a trip within one's own country - should include something of the mysterious and exotic, then head to Chinatown.

And after trying the restaurants on our list below, you might be inspired to start saving up for that big trip to China.




Venture through San Francisco's Chinatown for a visit to Golden Gate Bakery, a sweet shop that has customers braving long, out-the-door lines for its incredibly tasty egg custard tarts. In addition to these flaky, custard-filled pastries,...  Read More



Henry's Hunan Restaurant, owned and run by chef Henry Chung, specializes in hot, spicy Hunan cuisine, and regulars can't get enough of the addictive fare. Folks hold Henry in high esteem, not only because of his food but the large servings...  Read More

Hunan Home's Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Dnny Cheung


Chinese food enthusiasts flock to Hunan Home's Restaurant for award-winning cuisine that's reputedly "the best kept secret in Chinatown." The extensive menu features all the traditional items you expect to find, including classic Kung Pao...  Read More



Known for its innovative yet traditional Chinese dishes, R&G Lounge is a relative newcomer to the Chinatown restaurant scene, having opened its doors in 1985. While nearly thirty years of experience might seem a long time, in Chinatown, where...  Read More



For fans of Conan O'Brien, check out his hilarious spoof-commercial of Sam Wo's during his 2007 visit to San Francisco. Although the new Sam Wo is not at the original location - that Sam Wo's closed in 2012 after over a hundred years at that...  Read More



Great Eastern is so appreciated for its authenticity that you're likely to find a large clientele of native Chinese folks enjoying the cuisine. Seafood is always top-rated, as you'll see with lobster sashimi and prawns prepared a number of ways....  Read More



When you're in the mood for good times and great cuisine, be sure to check out Chinatown Restaurant. The restaurant is located in one of the area's most pleasant settings and is known for its delightful staff and superb cuisine. The menu at...  Read More



Specializing in the slow and sumptuous method of clay pot cooking, Hong Kong Clay Pot offers many familiar Chinese dishes, just prepared in this unique way. After soaking an unglazed pot in water, the food is secured and the pot and then heated,...  Read More



If you've been up and down the alleys of Chinatown, and the egg rolls and dim sum are all starting to taste the same, drop by Lucky Creation for a different take on Chinese. Although the atmosphere of this restaurant is cramped and divey, the...  Read More



If you want a truly unique Asian dining experience, head to House of Nanking. But be prepared to put yourself into the hands of head chef/owner Peter Fang, who since 1988 has down his best to get patrons to ignore the menu and allow him to...  Read More


Meet Tom Molanphy

The only thing that Tom Molanphy loves more than the food, art, music, and culture of San Francisco is sharing it with others. San Francisco never gets old for Tom.

Tom has lived in the San...  More About Tom