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5 Chinatown Restaurants That Need Your Support

Emma Bowen | November 20, 2020 | Food & Drink Feature Food & Drink Feature

With the local Chinese Chamber of Commerce estimating that more than one-third of Chinatown restaurants will be forced to close permanently in the next six months due to loss of revenue from the coronavirus, business owners need your orders more than ever.

5 Chinatown Restaurants to Support Image


Designed by chef George Chen and his wife, Cindy, China Live is considered Chinatown’s answer to New York City’s Eataly. Fresh herbs and vegetables are brought in daily from Cindy’s garden, and George sources as many ingredients as he can from the local markets. The restaurant’s signature dish is the pan-fried sheng jian bao, and the char siu barbecue pork “Dutch Crunch” baked buns are also a customer favorite.


Chinatown’s oldest bakery first opened in 1924, and current owner Orlando Kuan credits its long-lasting success to a commitment to staying true to the recipes handed down by the original owners. Eastern Bakery is known for its mooncakes, a dense pastry filled with a thick sweet or savory paste and a salted egg yolk, and offers a variety of flavors and fillings, all available for local pickup and nationwide shipping.


Awarded one Michelin star after less than a year of opening its doors, Mister Jiu’s head chef Brandon Jew has concocted a menu full of high-end twists on traditional Chinatown fare. Perfecting classic menu items like its steak fried rice, Mister Jiu’s serves up dishes with not only flavor but heart. Jew is also a member of the Bay Area Hospitality Coalition, which protects and provides resources to struggling restaurants and workers facing financial hardship during the coronavirus pandemic.


Although small and nearly hidden beneath the dozens of other businesses on Jackson Street, New Woey Loy Goey Restaurant has been
a Chinatown staple for more than 100 years. Locals keep returning for their fix of classic Toisan (southern) style Chinese cuisine served at low prices. The menu boasts several family-style meals, as well as a sprawling menu offering dishes like dried orange peel chicken and garlic frog in a clay pot.


Resurrected from a three-year foreclosure in 2015, Sam Wo is now giving back to its local supporters by helping fulfill food vouchers for Chinatown’s most at-risk residents. This tight-knit, traditional Chinese eatery—one of the neighborhood’s oldest—has been perfecting its craft since 1906. Make sure to try the Singapore-style chow mai fun and the jook soup.

Photography by: Sean Pavone Photo