Bow Hon Restaurant
850 Grant Ave, San Francisco, California 94108 (Chinatown)
Prices: $2-4 for each dim sum dish, $7-20 for each a la carte dish, $10/person for dinner specials
This past week, I was in San Francisco for the annual American Public Human Services Association ISM show. The show was fantastic and I met some very passionate people who are doing incredible things in government.
I also took the opportunity to explore San Francisco which is only a 60 minute drive north of San Jose. San Francisco is a colorful, exciting city that is a world-renowned tourist destination. Unfortunately, because it is so close, I take it for granted and never really make it up to this city as much as I should.
I was able to catch about 2 hours of free time between my arrival at the Westin St. Francis and the first session of the conference last Sunday. I was able to take in some of the sights of the city and also had a delectable lunch at Bow Hon, a little restaurant in Chinatown.
Front of Chinatown. I was hungry and what better place to catch a great meal than in Chinatown. It took a while to find just the type of restaurant I was looking for, something locally operated. There were a lot of tourist traps along the main corridor but if you venture to the side roads, you will hit some authentic stores and restaurants.
I finally stumbled on this restaurant which did happen to be on the main street of Chinatown. It looked quaint, simple, and clean. Didn’t feel like any fancy fare for lunch. The menu looked yummy. I did notice there were a lot of sushi restaurants in Chinatown… did not try any of them but didn’t notice these on my past visits and wonder if it is a recent phenomenon.
First course was Wonton Soup – it was a comfortable yet refreshing start to lunch. I was starving at this point and the soup tasted especially good. The mixture of pork and shrimp (I think) was flavorful and wrapped in delicate wonton skins.
Beer is available for $3.50 which is reasonable. The restaurant seats people on the first and second floors but for lunch it seemed only the first floor was open which at capacity could probably seat 30 people. From the table I was at, I could get a clear view into the commericial kitchen.
Barbeque pork buns. This is a dim sum dish and was not generally available by the time I had arrived at the restaurant. The waitress was smart and understood customer service. Instead of telling me I couldn’t have it, she told me it was possible but there would be a $1 surcharge on top of the regular $2.50 for the dish. I had cravings for these pork buns (memories of childhood, I get similar cravings for egg custard tarts and conge too) and glady paid the surcharge.
The quick 2 hour tour was a lot of fun and inspires me to take the Caltrain up one weekend and do a full tour with Clint. Bow Hon is a great restaurant, the service was courteous and the food is good. It is not a fancy place, but if you are looking for value and Chinese food that hits the spot, definitely stop by.