With all the attention given to our crop of Michelin-starred sushi joints, not enough attention is paid to our world-class Chinese.
It's the Year of the Rooster. And Lunar New Year festivities continue for another two weeks — so here are 14 must-eat items for your Chinese to-do list. They're eclectic in every sense: cuisine, price point, tolerance for lines (looking at you, dry fried chicken wings).
Start tonight with the eight-course shindig at Mister Jiu's. Ready, set, eat.
1. Executive Chef Tony Wu offers a six-course, $288 menu inspired by his grandmother — we're especially excited by the Fortune Platter, because who wouldn't want a plate of roast pork and barbecue pork?
2. Our favorite item at our favorite spot in town: the double-boiled supreme bird's nest soup at R&G, which specializes in Cantonese.
3. From Hakkasan's $128 special menu, we want the braised abalone with fat choy and dried oyster, please.
4. The dry-fried chicken wings at San Tung: still worth the detour.
5. Get your ticket now for Mister Jiu's eight-course meal, with contributions from top chefs around town — including folks from Lord Stanley, Aster and B. Patisserie.
6. If you're in the South Bay, Martin "Yan Can Cook" Yan will be appearing at the Saratoga Library in Saratoga (it's about an hour south of S.F., if you're not already familiar with California's most expensive housing market) on Feb. 4 to offer a Chengdu-centric cooking demo.
7. Through 2/4, the Americano at Hotel Vitale offers steamed bao buns of duck or beef tongue, with hoisin, cilantro and pickled cucumbers — all for good luck in the New Year.
9. Dumplings are a personal thing — you love some, you hate some — but our hearts go pitter-pat for these pan-fried shrimp dumplings, with the titular minced shrimp, cilantro, ginger and garlic soy vinegar sauce.
10. Feel like a staycation? Check in to the Ritz-Carlton for their CNY special (available through 2/12) — and stop by Parallel 37 for a special Chinese-inflected tea service on 2/4.
11. Call this number: (415) 387-2658. Say, "I would like one of your world-class Peking ducks, please." Show up to Chili House ("Chef Han has fed two Chinese presidents"). Get fed. Love life.
12. Once you start doing a deep dive on the mind-enhancing benefits of tea, you won't stop. Kick things off in style with either the CNY-specific tea service at the St. Regis ("with Green Tea for health and Imperial Oolong for good fortune," every day through 2/12) or Le Colonial (2/11 at noon).
13. Stuffed lotus leaf at Yank Sing: it's stuffed with sticky rice, Chinese sausage, shiitake mushrooms, chicken and sun-dried shrimp, and it is delicious.
14. Get there early for the Shaanxi mian-pi noodles at Terra Cotta Warriors, and bring a book, a friend or a phone for the wait.