My husband and I just spent a wonderful weekend in San Francisco. We decided the theme of the weekend should be “nose goes,” meaning that we would stop and taste wherever smelled amazing. Or where had been recommended, or where was highly rated. Any would do.
This led us on an incredible adventure to many amazing eateries we might never otherwise have found. I’ll start with one we’d visited before: House of Nanking.
If you’re looking for the most Authentic Chinese food in Chinatown, house of Nanking isn’t your place. The restaurant is at least half filled with tourists. They open at exactly noon, and don’t expect a friendly reminder if you show up early.
The floor is covered with linoleum. There’s nothing fancy about the restaurant, just a few photos and framed awards on the walls. In the back, you can easily see boxes of sodas stacked hip-high. “Watch step,” is scrawled on a piece of paper, too far after the step (and off to the side) to actually help anyone keep from tripping.
The waitress came to our table with a simple, “hello.” No other questions asked, we began to order. After we finished, she nodded and walked away. The menu is simple: three soups and about a dozen entrees to choose. The prices are reasonable, under $7 for soup and $9 for an entrée, unless you add seafood. We ordered the House Chicken, chow mien, and the hot and sour soup.
I am not a huge fan of hot and sour soup, so I am not a good judge of its quality. My husband proclaimed it delicious and promptly ate both tiny bowls.
The house chicken is like a more flavorful orange chicken, somehow more sweet and spicy at the same time. About the same ratio of breading-to-chicken you receive at any other standard Chinese restaurant. It came with these thin rounds of yams, which were better than sweet potato fries. Also apples. Why? I don’t know. Maybe because they taste amazing in the sauce.
The chow mien was my favorite. I could have eaten the entire plate myself. At one point I accidentally swallowed half a clove of garlic, and it was delicious. The sauce was perfectly tangy.
Two average eaters could split an entrée. We struggled to finish off most of each, and we are hearty eaters. However, it was so tasty, we didn’t want to stop eating.
Maybe next time we’ll try a different Chinatown restaurant, but Nanking is so tasty, it always keeps us going back for more.