Sunday, February 17, 2013

Food: "Hong Kong" in SF

In the midwest, getting Chinese food meant Americanized Chinese of the Chow Mein variety (not knocking it, I grew up on AC fare at my family's restaurant).  In SF, you have the luxury of getting really specific - Hong Kong, Sichuan, Shanghai, Hunan, Shandong, Hakka, etc.  At the moment, Hong Kong-style Cha Chaan Teng eateries are in our heavy dining rotation.  Hong Kong born and a semi-frequent visitor (not as of late though), my family and I used to patronize these tea diners in HK during every visit.  My favorite items were the bevy of drink options (mango, coconut & sago - yum!) and the various baked rice / spaghetti options.  I am thankful that you can find these marvelous restaurants in nearly every corner of the Bay.

SF City:
HK-style breakfast @ Tak Kee Lee
$5.25 gets you 2 meat options, a side, a noodle base, toast, and a drink.

I opted for bacon, satay beef, and a fried egg over ramen plus a cup of their amazing HK milk tea.
The broth was nice and flavorful - not like my bouillon cube concoction at home :)

Trying not to cry over spilt milk (tea) - I savor every drop.

South Bay: Cafe Tam in Cupertino
Crab & Corn Soup
A big creamy bowl of soup enough for 2-3 people.

Baked Cod in Cream Sauce over Spaghetti
My favorite!  Tons of carbs, but oh well.

Hubby's #1 Special Dai Gou Dai
Baked rice with half tomato sauce and half cream sauce layered with a pork chop, chicken wing, and egg.

Complimentary coconut sago dessert
I love this place!  Friendly service, great food, and massive portions.

East Bay:
More Baked Cod over Spaghetti + HK Milk Tea at Koi Palace Express
This is definitely the place to go if you're in the East Bay.  The food is city-quality and burb-convenient  - Koi is more expensive than most though.

Baked Pork Chop over Spaghetti @ Snowflake
This one was quite pretty, but not as tasty as the others.

I heart Yelp and rely heavily upon it, but sometimes the star ratings really throw me off.  I don't know if I'm naive or jaded, but I don't expect good service in most Asian eateries.  I find that many focus on food / efficiency rather than grinning hospitality and they get reamed on Yelp for it.  Case in point, Koi had meh ratings, but the food is very good (and they've always been friendly when we've gone).

Speaking of tea, I also found some goodies this weekend:
Milk Tea & Green Tea Chocolates
Whoops on not orienting this prior to uploading - sorry!

Fresh Milk Tea Cream Puffs @ Beard Papa's

Dark Brick Milk Tea @ Cafe Verde

And finally, the trees are blossoming here: so pretty!

So yeah, I heart SF and I never want to leave!  :)


  1. Drooling! The baked cod in cream sauce is making me so hungry! I want to try it! I always thought San Fran is a magical city...I've never seen blossoms like that on trees before! So pretty! :)

  2. Ooo the bakes spaghetti is such a HK dish! I remember eating something similar in Macau! I will definitely need some tips from you on food if ever I head back to SF :)

  3. I'm so jealous! From where I live, we don't have any authentic HK food at all. Everything you ordered look so mouthwatering.

    Looking at these food at 3am in the morning is not a good idea, lol.

  4. I see you've already become a Bay Area person. I d on't want to say it, but I told you so! :)
    So glad to see you all settled!

  5. So true about the quality of the food and the customer service part! Ive noticed that tooo... if the food is better, no one smiles and if the food is bad, the employees are always smiling and talking too much :)

    Have you tried Indian-Chinese? I love it!!

    1. I haven't, but that sounds amazing! How do I find such deliciousness?

  6. I'm glad I live in LA where we also have food like this!

  7. My Chinese card should be revoked because I don't even know the difference between all the styles you listed (and my mom is Hakka)!

    Some I had no idea were Chinese dishes, but the common theme is that THEY ALL LOOK SO GOOD. Is there a way to prolong your husband's job in SF? Because I sure am going to miss these posts once you move.

    1. Haha, we'll have to really savor these 3 years and you'll have to come visit too!

  8. Oh my. I want to eat everything! My husband's family lives in the SF Bay Area and these places are definitely going on my must try list for the next time we're out there visiting them! xoxo

  9. Looks so good! I love HK cafe food too.

  10. Hi! Can you provide the restaurant name for the South Bay restaurant, it looks tempting.

    1. Whoops, I'll go back to edit! It's Cafe Tam in Cupertino
      20956 Homestead Rd
      Ste H
      Cupertino, CA 95014

  11. Is "black brick" the herbal black jelly? I LOVE THAT STUFF, esp in milk tea! We only have bubbles around here, so boring ;). Your post is making me so hungry, mmmm, ramen with fried egg, my midnight guilty pleasure! And yea, why do ppl expect good service at authentic Chinese places? I say, the dirtier and more distant the service, the more authentic, haha! Well, as long as no one ignores me or spits in my food, that is.

    1. The dark brick is actually this coffee flavored jelly, but I know the black one you're talking about! Glad someone else understands the service aspect ;)

  12. The foods look amazing. I have to admit I have zero knowledge of the different types of Chinese cuisine there are. Thank you for the information.
    If I want spicy Chinese foods which one would you recommend?

  13. YUM!! What can I say...I love food photos! Cha chaan tengs are the best and I can drink milk tea everyday. Omg take me to Cafe Verde next time...I want to try that drink! =P


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