By Guest Writer Mark Arevalo
You too will be in line waiting for House of Nanking Courtesy: Saturnism
I hate Chinese food… let me clarify; I hate Americanized Chinese food. I categorize venues like Panda Express and PF Chang’s (not good) – laden with overly sweet chicken dishes that feed America’s need to feel cultured and loaded on MSG. But there are exceptions, and good ones at that.
The House of Nanking, lies right on the edge of San Francisco’s Chinatown. Read any San Francisco guide book and it will undoubtedly mention this place. No, its not 100% authentic but in this case it works. You won’t find steamed chicken feet or Mapo tofu (two of my favorites). You’re also not likely to find Chinese families or the melodic tones of Mandarin. What you will find is food that tastes good and is properly tweaked to an American palette.
Yes they do have the ubiquitous sweet dishes like sesame chicken, and of course they have all the appetizers that you’ve grown to love. Better even, Nanking also serves up warm spinach salad topped with beef, peppers, and a dressing that has just the right amount of soy.
You’ll also find an interesting take on Peking duck. The cooks at Nanking’s replace the duck with succulent chunks of pork and roll it up in a pancake with scallions and slices of calabash. As for noodles, try the cleverly named Birds Nest. It’s not an actual birds nest (like Chinese Bird’s Nest soup), but rather a basket of deep fried noodles topped with a sweet and salty sauce served with prawns and scallions.
Just so we’re clear ahead of time, don’t go to House of Nanking expecting to order any of these dishes. In reality, you might not even get a menu. If it’s your first time there, their wait staff will most likely order for you. Trust them and trust me when I say, it’s a good thing.
House of Nanking | 919 Kearny Street, San Francisco
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