Kathy Chin Leong
Taste Chinatown from your Laptop
What do Door Dash, Grubhub, and UberEats have in common? Other than the fact they are all food delivery services, they also serve as delivery vehicles for many of Chinatown’s beloved restaurants during the coronavirus. A plethora of contemporary Chinese eateries to comfort food hole-in-the-walls anxious to stay afloat, are launching into the Internet space and world of apps, relying on websites and online transport services to keep their businesses open.
Looking at what is available online from this small community, the range of entrees and flavors is vast. Websites including SFEater.com (https://sf.eater.com/maps/san-francisco-chinatown-restaurants-open-takeout-delivery) and the Rose Pak Democratic Club (https://sites.google.com/view/chinatowneats/home) are posting up-to-date listings of Chinatown restaurants and bakeries that are making food available for delivery and pickup. It’s an opportunity for San Franciscans to support a place they have been meaning to try. It’s also a chance for gastronomes to strike out boldly, to rise up to new textures and flavors. Ever try white fish rice porridge? At Sam Wo, it’s a favorite of midnight shift workers. Or how about crispy fried chicken wings laced with jalapeno peppers from Capital Restaurant?
To many, Chinese fare means comfort food, and you’ll find plenty of it online. Old guard enterprises such as Far East Café are promoting Cantonese favorites such as pork fried rice and walnut shrimp. Tiny Sweetheart Café touts Chinese snacks including mango pudding and Taiwan milk tea. Old time dim sum delis such as Good Mong Kok Bakery, which always features a line of customers streaming out the door, continues sell its savory (pork and shrimp steamed dumplings) and sweet treats (sesame rice balls).
Newer enterprises such as China Live are taking orders online as well. Customers can click on an entrée photo and choose the time and day they come for a pick up. Among its many items, China Live sells a delectable, authentic Peking duck (roasted in-house), available together with fixins’ of green onion slivers, kumquat glaze and sesame bun pockets.
Just like the unpredictable nature of this epidemic, the restaurant owners say their hours will vary. How long they will rely only on takeout/delivery service all depends.