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The Real Chinatown Food Tour

Trip at a Glance

  • Locations

    San Francisco, California, United States

  • Activities

    Food Tour, Lifestyle

  • Price
    $59 USD per person
  • Duration

    2.5-3.5

  • Avg Distance

    1 mile

  • Departure Day(s) and Time(s)

    Tuesdays and Fridays at 6:30,Saturdays 11:00AM, Sundays at 2:00PM

  • Starting Location

    Chinatown Gate

  • Price Includes

    All food and beverages, narration, professional guide services

Highlights

  • Exotic Food sampling along the entire route of this walking food tour Try Dim Sum and Chinese Pastries. Participate in a tea ceremony Step back in time to a fortune cookie factory as technically advanced as the Victorian era.
  • Historic and entertaining highlights narrated by a knowledgable local guide. Neighborhood history told from a personal point of view of a resident born and raised in Chinatown.
  • Your guide will translate Cantonese into English for you, enabling you to see the discrict as a local. Visit eateries you would never find on your own and even if you did, the language barrier would be prohibitive, because no English is spoken.
  • See the swanky Chinatown nightclubs of the 40's and 50's, Kubla Kahn's, The Forbidden CIty, The Sky Room, The Lion's Den. Hear about the heydey when American servicemen patronized the exotic Occidental clubs.
  • Besides the restaurants and other eateries, you will go to the Chinese markets, produce vendors, flower stalls, and grocers along Stockton Street. Also visit an herbalist's shop and if open you'll pay your respects at a Buddhist temple.

Guide

Trip Info

On Explore San Francisco’s Chinatown Food Tour we bypass the tacky souvenir shops and instead will be transported back to the golden age of Chinatown, of old, swanky Chinese nightclubs Like the Forbidden City, The Lion’s Den, and The Sky Room. We’ll see the world of live fish and poultry still swimming and clucking, fresh produce you don’t know the names for,and small family food purveyors that never heard the words, “artisanal” or “heirloom”. Relive this “Golden Age” Of Chinatown as a local…

On our culinary walking tour of Chinatown, we’ll go through the open air markets where Chinese food stuffs and other exotic items are sold. This is the foodie tour of Chinatown that you want. And on this food tour, your guide can help you make some sense of the exotic bounty you’ll encounter here and you will marvel at the variety of new and unique foods to sample that you will come across. Along the way, you will hear an insider’s narative of life in
Chinatown, what it was like to grow up in this city within a city and you will hear about it’s fascinating history, you may even go to a Buddhist Temple. You will try and taste the best Chinese food in the quarter, exotic foods from China await you around every corner on this food tour. These are not things that you would find on your own, and many of the places we’ll go to are not written about in any guide books. You have to be in the know, to know
where to go in Chinatown, luckily for you, we are in the know. It’s time to explore Chinatown’s food scene.

Visitors to Chinatown expect something they won’t find anywhere else. They expect to be stunned and enchanted and tempted with great food. And you will. Customers of Explore SF expect to see the city as locals. And you will. Guests on a Chinatown Food Tour expect to see and taste the familiar Chinese foods they know so well and to sample
and be delighted by the exotic and new flavors to be found in Chinatown. And you will – We will show you Chinatown as we would show our family and friends. We will show you the Chinatown that tourists rarely see, the alleys and side streets of Chinatown, this is where the locals do their daily business, leading their daily lives, which is afterall, the real Chinatown, which is our final destination. Explore!

Reviews

  1. 5 out of 5

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    “Tour the REAL Chinatown not the tourist trap!” Reviewed May 25, 2014 My wife and I took this tour March 2014, and would recommend this tour to anyone who wants to see the REAL Chinatown and what the history and culture are really about as well as try foods that are not on the American menus typically found in Chinatown Restaurants. Dan our tour guide actually grew up in SF Chinatown and gave us an excellent insight to the history of the area as well as introducing us to the cuisine. He was sensitive to the fact that Americans and Chinese do not have the same pallet, and was careful to not to order items that might not be to our liking. We had a great time on this tour and would give it our highest recommendation! Visited February 2014 Less

  2. 5 out of 5

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    “GREAT Food and GREAT tour guide” Reviewed August 4, 2014 Dan Chew is an excellent food guide. We enjoyed both vegan/veggie tours in the Mission and China town. He was awesome, fun and his personal knowledge of China town was so great! Everything was wonderful. We will be back each time we visit Sfo. Was this review helpful?Yes

  3. 5 out of 5

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    “Great time in Chinatown” Reviewed September 1, 2014 We had the best time on our Chinatown food tour. Dan Chew is so interesting and him being a native, we were able to experience things not normally seen on the usual tourist tour. I highly recommend this food tour. Was this review helpful?Yes

  4. 5 out of 5

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    Food Tours with a high IQ” Reviewed September 18, 2013 I am from San Francisco originally but haven’t been home in over 15 years. My wife hadn’t been here since she was a child but has listened to me brag about the food, the history, and the neighborhoods for a very long time. Well she was transferred to SF for a two year contract, so here we are and she expected me to be the tour guide. I don’t think my old haunts are still here so I called Explore San Francisco. The guides all,have their extensions posted on the site, when you dial their extension it rings their cell phone! Nifty. I was able to interview 3 guides to see whose tour I might like the best. This is a co-op so the guides and the tours really run the gamut. We chose North Beach and Chinatown Food Tour, and The Mission Food Tour North. The guides were from the neighborhood I which they gave tours. The North Beach Chinatown guide was a true historian, not only did she know the food history, the neighborhood history, but she knew the family histories of the restaurant owners,whom she knew all of them personally. The me nu was very carb-centric, but lots of carbs are okay sometimes, right? I was glad to see many of my old haunts were still there, but there is no way that I would have had the expertise and inspiration to get us into 10 different places, sampling as we went. We passed another tour twice and they were eating off of toothpicks outside on my he sidewalks in front of the eateries, like they weren’t allowed inside. We were greeted warmly at each stop and had nice big tables with good service. The guide made sure all our needs were met, our waters refilled, who needs a drink? Then she would switch into,presentation mode and tell us about the foods we were eating. The next day was the Mission and that neighborhood has really changed! I loved the old Mission but it was more dangerous. Now it seems to be where all,the city’s best restaurants are, it is still funky, with artists and bohemians, but now there are more suburban types, stuffed shirts, and tourists from places like Texas, although not too many tourists luckily! The guide for the tour, one word; Bravo! The food: first rate, the selection of restaurants: perfectly balanced, they said that the restaurants on this tour are different every time, with so many places to choose from , I believe it. We ate Latin, Asian, Cutting edge, Southern Indian, Italian, comfort, vegan, and homemade (pies). We went shopping at a bodega, saw the murals, met the owners, heard about the earthquake. The guide had to be working very hard to keep everything on schedule but seemed so relaxed, like we were all just a group of friends. Oh, and my wife loved it too, she thanked me for picking this company and we both agreed that we never could have pulled off anything like this on our own. Visited August 2014 Less

  5. 5 out of 5

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    “More than just Food!” Reviewed September 1, 2014 The tour was a fun way to experience Chinatown. Not only was the food delicious but the tour was packed with history as well. Dan, our guide, gave us many insights into growing up in Chinatown with three generations of stories. He took us into places where locals eat and told us the stories of the establishments throughout the decades. We ate, we drank tea, we walked, and our eyes were filled with the many colorful sights of a place I had never experienced in that way. I would definitely recommend for someone from out of town and anyone who lives in the area who would like to experience the food, the people and the history of Chinatown. Visited August 2014 Less

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