Authentic Taste: How to Find the Best Chinese Food in San Francisco

Han Lijun

Good food is one of the things people from all parts of the world can all agree upon. In the United States, especially in key cities like Washington and San Francisco, among others, Chinese food has made a niche over the years, although some sectors have something to say about the menu being offered by these restaurants.

An article by China Daily USA stated that local Chinese visiting the US were not very pleased when it came to the authenticity of the dishes in these so-called Chinese restaurants:

But most Chinese restaurants in Washington, like in other US cities, are simply not authentic Chinese. They’re Americanized despite some efforts to please the taste buds from China.

For Ling, the Chinese restaurants in the US are just not up to mainland standards. “It seems that one sauce has been used for all dishes,” she said.

“It’s a huge distortion of Chinese culinary culture,” said Ling, who, when back in Shanghai, likes to frequent new restaurants.

These comments coming from a Chinese native may very well serve as a guide for people who are searching for the best Chinese food in San Francisco . For one to enjoy the best Chinese food in town, authenticity should be the main barometer when choosing among the many different restaurants within the city.

The Value of Authenticity

The article also mentioned how Americans have grown to love the brand of Chinese food that are usually served by restaurants, which could be attributed to the fact that the chefs have already tweaked them to suit the American taste. Essentially, if you want to enjoy Chinese food at its best, you need to go for something that is really Chinese through and through, or else, you may only be eating something that is part-Chinese.

A Search to Be Rewarded

Though people may easily fall into the temptation of settling for the first restaurant they see that has the word “Chinese” on their signage, practicing more patience in your search will be rewarded with exceptional taste and more.

There are still a number of restaurants offering authentic Chinese food in San Francisco like Chili House SF, which use not only fresh ingredients but also prepare the food the traditional way. Dining in these restaurants will provide a taste of how food in China really is, which is the end-goal of enjoying fine Chinese cuisine.

(Source: “Chinese Visitors: America needs more real Chinese food,” China Daily USA, March 19, 2014)

Authentic Chinese Dishes Served at San Francisco’s Best Chinese Restaurants

Han Lijun

Snippet from Restaurants.com article on authentic Chinese dishes

Aside from pizza, Chinese cuisine is among the most popular food items among Americans. While most favor it because of its availability and filling servings, discerning Chinese visitors tend to not be as easily satisfied. Featured in China Daily USA are the sentiments of those looking for genuine taste from authentic Chinese food:

There are many differences between authentic Chinese cuisine and Westernized Chinese food. From ingredients to cooking methods to popular dishes, the differences are numerous. In general, Westernized Chinese food is considered to be more bland and fattening than authentic Chinese food.

While you can likely find authentic Chinese restaurants or authentic dishes in restaurants around the country, most U.S. Chinese restaurants offer Westernized Chinese food. While Westernized dishes are far removed from the authentic dishes they once were, some Western Chinese food dishes are actually a complete invention!

In almost every country, the Chinese have successfully managed to establish their own neighborhoods, selling delicacies and products unique to them. It’s no wonder, then, that Chinese folks missing the food back home turn to local establishments inspired by Chinese dishes to satiate their cravings.

Culturally-diverse cities like San Francisco, California, in particular, is home to many Chinese restaurants, and there is certainly no shortage of options, authentic or otherwise.

It is with this fact in mind that those who are looking for the best dim sum in San Francisco can rest easy, knowing that there are a variety of choices for them to try out. Especially because of the growing clamor for more authentic cooking, Chinese cuisine fans can further enjoy what they’re looking for, particularly in restaurants keen on serving nothing but authentic Chinese food, like Chili House SF.

Not only are these restaurants improving their knowledge of authentic Chinese cuisine further, they are also expanding their services, now also providing delectable Chinese food catering serves. Now that’s a most convenient way of enjoying the famed American take-out choice on a bigger scale.

Those in San Francisco should consider themselves lucky, if only for the colorful diversity in cultures present in their city, giving them access to all the best kinds of dishes known in the world.

(Snippet Source: Differences Between Authentic Vs. Westernized Chinese Food , Restaurants.com, June 2013)

Slim Down by Eating Traditionally at San Francisco Chinese Restaurants

Han Lijun

People looking to shed more weight may look at a traditional Asian method of eating as a supplement to their slim-down routines. With the help of several studies about slow eating, it has been found out that eating with chopsticks effectively aids weight loss over time. As LiveStrong.com writer Jamie Logan notes:

Controlling your caloric intake is the foundation of successful weight loss. When you eat more slowly, you give your brain enough time to register that your stomach is full, which can help you eat less. While certain foods – like sandwiches – can’t be eaten with chopsticks, using chopsticks to eat other foods will help train you to eat more slowly and consciously.

Of course, there is no better place to eat with chopsticks than at several Chinese restaurants in San Francisco , the likes of Chili House. Weight loss by eating with chopsticks relies heavily on one concept to work – eating slowly. According to Dr. Lowen Rabosnoff, Ph.D., director of the Chopstick Weight Loss Center Inc. (CWLCI), weight loss and weight gain are both dependent on eating speed, and that using chopsticks forces a person to eat slower and in smaller amounts.

During a meal, a person’s stomach sends signals to the brain, indicating that it is already full. However, it takes about 20 minutes for these signals to reach the brain, by which time, the person would’ve already chowed down on another serving. This explains why most overweight people are speed-eaters; the lag time makes it difficult for them to judge if they are really full or not.

Eating with chopsticks not only forces people to eat slower, but also be more conscious about what they actually eat. Even if people learn how to efficiently handle chopsticks to eat rice or meat with, the amount will still be limited as compared to the spoon and fork, thereby effectively resulting in inadvertent lower calorie intake. This is a fairly simple premise, but effective nonetheless.

With this information at hand, local San Francisco Chinese restaurants are the places to go to for people looking to slim down. Enjoying authentic Chinese cuisine isn’t really authentic in itself if they’re not eaten using traditional chopsticks, after all.

(Source: How to Lose Weight by Eating with Chopsticks, LiveStrong.com, April 6, 2013)

The History of Dumplings: A San Francisco Chinese Restaurant Staple

Han Lijun

The best dumplings of San Francisco being prepared by Chili House SF

If you eat at a typical Chinese restaurant in San Francisco or elsewhere, you’re likely to find dumplings in the menu. The history of Chinese dumplings is a rich and fascinating one. These tasty, cooked balls of dough, usually filled with meat or any other relish, are pretty popular around the world, and it’s not hard to see why. History Channel writer Stephanie Butler agrees:

From Italian ravioli, to Polish piroshky, to Chinese pot stickers, the humble dumpling is beloved by eaters around the world. Truly a universal food, you’d be hard pressed to find a cultural cuisine that doesn’t include dumplings in some form, be it stuffed or boiled.

But have you ever wondered about dumpling history? When and how did people first come up with dumplings? Dumplings are ancient by culinary standards, and the history behind them goes way back. Archaeological evidence points to dumpling-like recipes from Ancient Rome, but the true origin history of the dumpling as we know it today begins with the ancient Chinese. The treat’s inception was attributed to China’s so-called “Medicine Saint,” Zhang Zhongjing.

Zhang lived 1,800 years ago during the Eastern Han Dynasty. One day, he returned to his hometown after retiring from government service. It was winter when he came home, and upon arriving, he noticed that a lot of the people had frostbitten ears. As a healer, he soon realized that his home clinic would be filled beyond capacity with aching townspeople any moment. Because of this, he asked his brother to put up a tent in the town square, and place a heated cauldron inside.

Zhang crafted a cure by wrapping mutton, chili, and some medicinal herbs in a dough skin, shaped like an ear. This was boiled in water before being given to the people. Zhang’s cure helped warm the patients’ bodies effectively, and also thawed the frostbitten ears by promoting blood flow. Incidentally, the cure also tasted so good that it was well-received. For the next several days, Zhang had his fellow townspeople continued eating his recipe and consuming the soup made from its broth, and it was only a matter of time before the people’s frostbitten ears were cured.

Not many people would have thought that the tasty treat was originally crafted for medicinal purposes, but dumplings have withstood the test of time, still warming the hearts and tummies of people today eating in their preferred Chinese restaurant around San Francisco , like Chili House. For what it’s worth, foodies around the world have Zhang Zhongjing to thank.

Enjoy the best dumplings in San Francisco at Chili House as part of a tradition going back many centuries.

(Source: Delightful, Delicious Dumplings, History.com, March 28, 2014)