From the iconic takeout containers to the obligatory fortune cookies, Chinese food is the most loved takeout food in the country. Even in cities with incredible culinary diversity such as San Francisco, Chinese reigns king as the most popular delivery cuisine. The only difficulty is choosing which of the city’s many delicious Chinese restaurants to order from, which is where we come in. Ranging from traditional dumplings to more out-of-the-box fusion restaurants, here are our top picks for the best Chinese takeout in San Francisco.
5. Mission Chinese Food
Serving up creative fusion Chinese dishes in – you guessed it – the Mission for the last 10 years, Mission Chinese Food is led by award-winning chef Danny Bowien, who is known for putting a creative new spin on classic dishes. Popular menu items include Kung Pao pastrami and salt cod fried rice. While it’s not the cheapest or the most authentic Chinese food restaurant in San Francisco, it’s a unique culinary experience that’s definitely worth checking off your takeout bucket list.
4. Red Jade
If you only order one dish from Red Jade, make it the General Tso’s chicken. We know it seems like a cliché Chinese food takeout order, but it’s also one that is hard to do right and the team at Red Jade have perfected it, with extra crispy chicken and a sauce that’s just the right balance of sweet, spicy and syrupy. Another signature dish is the Mongolian lamb which comes stir fried in a spicy sauce with plenty of fresh chili peppers. Pair it with a side of rice, or for a heartier meal, a side of Red Jade’s signature chow mein – just be prepared to have plenty of leftovers.
3. Shanghai Dumpling King
In case you couldn’t tell by the name, our next Chinese food pick specializes in Shanghai-style dumplings. The spicy pork and chive dumplings are not particularly spicy, but they are so addictive that we highly recommend ordering two portions. We also think this is the first time we’ve ever recommended ‘green beans’ as a takeout dish, but the green beans at Shanghai Dumpling King come smothered in a garlicky sauce that will have your mouth watering as soon you’ve placed your order.
2. Kung Food
If you’re looking for the kind of comforting Chinese food takeout dishes that you’ve been enjoying ever since you were a kid, Kung Food is the place. Take your pick from classics like orange chicken with fried rice or sweet and sour pork and enjoy a food coma like only Chinese food can provide. One slightly less traditional twist is that Kung Food has a wide range of vegan options, including all of the classic dishes.
1. New Fortune Chinese
New Fortune is a local hole-in-the-wall restaurant with a relatively simple menu, but this is some of the best authentic Chinese food we’ve had in San Francisco, whether dine-in or delivery. Can’t-miss dishes range from perfectly seasoned Chow Fun noodles with a generous helping of meat, to peppery Peking Spare Ribs that fall off the bone. The Wonton Soup is excellent as well, with gigantic wontons filled with tender, flavorful beef.