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Little Saigon and The Tendernob

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Trip at a Glance

  • Company

    Explore San Francisco

  • Locations

    San Francisco, California, United States

  • Price
    $99 USD per person
  • Duration

    2.5- 3 hours

  • Avg Distance

    1.2 miles

  • Departure Day(s) and Time(s)

    Sundays @ 1:00, Wednesdays and Fridays at 3:00

  • Starting Location

    1000 Van Ness, in front of the AMC Theatre

  • Price Includes

    All food, and guide services. Tour guide gratuity is not included. 20-25% is customary and greatly appreciated, as this is how they make most of their income.

  • Notes

    It is advised not to wear expensive or flashy jewelry or watches.


  • Enjoy the Foods of Southern Asia, from around the globe, and from the Bay Area. We'll visit at least 5 different eateries, all chosen for their outstanding food.
  • Go on shopping excursions at local, ethnic markets. If open, explore the Heart of the City Farmers Market, in The United Nations Plaza, for the freshest.
  • In this much overlooked part of our city, you will be amazed at the collection of restaurants from every corner of the globe.
  • See the neighborhood, traditionally a rough and tumble area, this area is now experiencing a resurgence of long-lost popularity.
  • The architecture here is delightfully bold, colorful and unique, some of the most famous of architects are represented here.

Trip Info

Traditional Vietnamese cooking is greatly admired for its fresh ingredients, minimal use of oil, and reliance on herbs and vegetables. With the balance between fresh herbs and meats and a selective use of spices to reach a fine taste, Vietnamese food is considered one of the healthiest cuisines worldwide. Vietnamese cuisine is finally getting the acclaim it so rightly deserves.
The Tendernob is the area between Nob Hill proper and Little Saigon, but until fairly recently, it was just considered the Tenderloin. Because of it’s location, this is a neighborhood of great contrasts. Immigrants from far-flung parts of the globe, the moneyed class from up the on Nob Hill, and a fairly recent influx of art students from the SF Art Institute, have produced a variety of eateries for any pallette around the clock.
Here you will find old and well established fine dining restaurants, next door to Greek kitchens, Israeli markets and Napoli Pizza parlors. One block has a hookah lounge amidst several Pakistani restaurants where no alcohol is served, and all the buildings there are historic landmarks. Besides the KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) Yemeni, Moroccan, Ethiopian, Turkish and Soul Food, now the techies are moving into the neighborhood buying up old dive bars, gay bars, and even a tranny bar, and they are creating their own versions of public gathering spaces, and the neighborhood takes it in stride.
The result of all this eclectic activity is fascinating and enticing, each new doorway promises a journey into it’s space and the ecosystem within which operates unto itself. The establishments here are small and so intimate that the kitchens are visible to the patrons who are seated usually within earshot of the chef and his staff. And it’s not uncommon that the kitchen staff will all be members of the same family, both young and old. This ever-changing neighborhood has a very delightful assortment of eateries which create one of the most dynamic and surprisingly wonderful food tour itineraries to be found.
Join renowned food-blogger Dan Chew, or globetrotter David Killian on a trek through this unexpected and compelling neighborhood on a food tour of epic variety as you discover new foods and flavors you’ll never want to forget.

Your adventure awaits!

Explore San Francisco

After you've seen the tourist attractions, come & explore the real city with us. With Explore San Francisco, we will show you the same city that we would show to our own visiting family and friends. The best and most authentic culinary, wine, neighborhood, walking, and running tours in San Francisco.


  1. 5 out of 5


    5/19/2013 Little Saigon Food Tour: Absolutely amazing! I booked this tour for my mom and I, as we are both foodies, and love Asian foods. This tour focused on mainly Vietnamese, Thai and Korean foods and culture. Our guide Jennifer was great! She had a fun personality and had a wealth of knowledge. We learned all about the community of Little Saigon, interesting facts about the culture, and all about the flavors and different ingredients used. She even took us into a local market and showed specialties and the ingredients to make some of the foods we tried. Now for the good part, the food! Spectacular! The first stop was a full meal in itself. The next few stops were small little family run places with the most friendly staff. Jennifer ordered for us and and not the norm either. We got to share and sample several different things. Thanks to this tour we went to places and tried foods that I never would have on my own. Every place she took us was very clean and nice, but not commercial or chain. Food from the heart and soul of the Asian community. Definitely worth the time and you won’t leave hungry!

  2. 5 out of 5


    2/2/2014 Fantastic food/architecture/history walking tour of the Tenderloin with Dan Chew ( In 2+ hours we devoured Thai Boat Noodles in a Thai restaurant in which we were the only non-Thais, fed our sweet tooth with English toffee and fudge, scarfed down tasty Turkish cuisine, checked out the Farmer’s Market in United Nations Plaza, shared Banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches), warmed to the Indian spices and toasty ambiance at an Indian institution, and finished off at a charming southern BBQ joint. In between the food stops we found architectural gems…Moorish style apartments, a masterpiece Byzantine/Moor Theatre, a Spanish Colonial Revival apartments, and finally a Spanish Colonial hotel. Who knew? Absolutely fantastic. Don’t miss it.

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