Monday, October 10, 2011

Clement Street

Maybe you're already familiar with San Francisco's "New Chinatown", a.k.a. Clement Street.  I know it better than the official Chinatown, but only because it is smaller and we spend more time there.

Situated above Golden Gate Park, Clement Street is 6 or 7 blocks of less touristy Chinatown.
(google map)
Parking is always the biggest obstacle in visiting Clement Street.  There's no direct MUNI metro line, though you can take the bus if you are brave.  We usually end up driving there though since I can take more stuff back home that way!

For the otaku, there's Super Tokio, a small Japanese candy/snack/toy shop.
I used to buy figurines here all the time when I lived in the City (just one summer during an internship).  Since then I think they figured out that their figurines were worth a lot more than the $2 they would charge, because it's a bit more pricey now.  I still like to see what they have in stock though!

Then there's my most favorite "stuff" store, which I call the Piyo Piyo store.  It's really called "JVD Global, Inc", but my pet name is cuter. They have a lot of Piyo Piyo ducks, Sanrio and cell phone accessories.
Under some renovations, but perhaps you can see the plushies in the window?
They have super cute things, and are always very cheap, so I never leave empty handed.  Here's what we picked up from this particular trip:
Compass (Sak's), Ash and Misty figurines ($3!), and a daikon (radish) coin purse..
Speaking of daikon, there are plenty of street markets for fresh fruits and veggies.

And places to get all the Chinese houseware you could need.
All the plastic containers outside fascinate me! But then, I love storage boxes, bags, etc.
And though not Chinese, Clement Street is also home to Green Apple Books, an awesome independent bookstore stuffed with books (though maybe not quite as big as Powells!)

Hungry? I get to show off my Cantonese while ordering from Good Luck Dim Sum.  (No, I cannot really speak Cantonese, but the words I do know are food related, and I am a fearless orderer!)
Wall of pink Chinese bakery boxes.  
I really like this place because it has a few of the "harder to find" dim sum items, like my favorite sticky rice bao (I don't know it's real name).
It's pretty much just fried sticky rice in a wonton wrapper, but I love it.  No one else really understands why, but hey, sometimes the simplest things are the best.
Sak making a dumb face while eating a baked char sui bao. We ate in the car because we were too hungry to wait til we got home!
Another favorite is the lap cheong (Chinese sausage) bao. Horribly, horribly fatty sausage, but bursting with amazing flavor. One of my go-to instant fatty-comfort-foods is actually just chopped up lap cheong, put into a pot of rice while it cooks. Try it!

Anyway, we paid less than $6 for two sticky rice bao, two baked char sui bao, three har gow (shrimp dumplings), and two lap cheong bao. Such a better price (and quality!) from buying last minute dim sum from Ranch 99.  I wish this place was closer to home! Or closer to work!

For dessert we head to Sak's favorite Clement Street locale, Eternal Springs.
Hubby inside ordering while Wifu outside looks like a creeper taking pictures.
It's a tiny little shop - but it has great gelato, Vietnamese sandwiches (bahn mi), and smoothies/milk teas.  What's so amazing about this place - when we ordered a honeydew drink (because we love melon drinks), they made it with real honeydew! That's pretty much unheard of, usually it's just powder. So great.

Anyway, that's just a little tour of Clement Street through they eyes of us Saks! If you have your own Clement favorite, please chime in so I can try out some new stuff next time!

What's your favorite type of dim sum?


  1. Kamei is my one of my all-time favorite stores! I could spend hours in there - it's also a great place to buy orchids, tea sets and sushi sets. I haven't eaten too much food on Clement Street, but I'll definitely need to try some of the spots you mentioned :)

  2. This can be moved to #1 on my list of things to do when I visit you.

  3. The MUNI bus system isn't bad in SF. If you are in downtown you can take the 2 Clement on Sutter and it goes through Clement itself, or the 38 Geary is pretty close too.

    Good Luck is a fave of mine. Your fave is call "nor mai bao." The nor is kinda hard to say like, sounds like na-aww. I really like the potstickers, the noodle rolls and the fun gor there.

    You should try cracking an egg over the rice as well as the lap cheong.

  4. fun! thanks for the little tour--takes me back to when i used to live in SF, although my closest chinatown was sunset!

  5. I'm so glad you wrote about this place - I recently was in the neighborhood, eating at the Burma Superstar. I didn't get a good feel for neighborhood since it was dark, but with your review, now I know I'll have to go back to try some other goodies!

  6. Shamefully, I have never been to Clement Street. I wonder if Dave has? He sometimes goes out without me to do otaku things around the city. I just want to EAT! Your post got me so hungry!

  7. Ohhh but we were near there apartment hunting on California and Divis this weekend :) We're trying to move close to the city.

  8. Sweeet! :D I lived much closer to Irving (well, always Sunset side!) so that was my Chinese-hood away from Chinatown. :] Thanks for featuring a bit of home!


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