Foodie in San Francisco

The first of our three-part series, our bubbly, foodie intern from Hong Kong describes her culinary adventures in San Francisco. Peruvian food, excellent seafood and a bit of a misunderstanding are highlights of her experience in one of America’s best food cities.

 Hi, I am Eliza! I am from Hong Kong, and I interned at Wcities this summer. This summer in San Francisco has been unforgettable — I have to write something about it. Among all the memories I have made and the things I have seen, I love the restaurants in San Francisco the most.

If you ask a Chinese person what his or her impression of western food is, most of the answers you receive will probably be “steak,” “potato,” “fried food” or “nothing to eat.” But this is not true. I am going to tell you how San Francisco, a city with an international collection of food, proved this kind of stereotype wrong. For a foodie like me, eating in San Francisco has been amazing. I am going to introduce three restaurants that really impressed me.

Fresca – Peruvian Cuisine

My friends and I are crazy to have a good dinner, so we go to West Portal and walk into the first restaurant we see. This restaurant is called Fresca. It is small but not too crowded. Though there are quite a few people waiting outside, it only takes us 15 minutes to sit down. After we see the menu, we find that it is a Peruvian restaurant. I have never tried Peruvian cuisine before, so this is a new experience for me.

For an appetizer, we order scallops and a salad to share. For an entrée, I order a Pescado a lo Macho, fried dorade fish, and my friends order lamb and paella. The fish is so crispy, and the seafood rice with it tastes a little bit like Spanish food. It is delicious. I also taste a bit of the paella, which is great! There is a lot of calamari, shrimp and mussels in it. Though lamb is not my favorite, my friend says Fresca’s lamb is very nice, too. If you are a meat lover, you will definitely want to try their lamb.

We also order a half pitcher of sangria. This is definitely the best sangria I’ve ever had. It is not too strong, so you can have it with brunch and won’t feel dizzy. But it has the best flavor accompanied by apple studs, perfect for a summer day.

Crab House – Sea Food

Speaking of San Francisco, one must think of Fisherman’s Wharf. And speaking of Fisherman’s Wharf, you can’t miss the famous crab and clam chowder there. We go to Crab House and the experience is unforgettable. In China we cook crab in boiling water for several minutes and then eat its meat with vinegar and ginger. In Chinese medicine, vinegar and ginger are used to help digestion, especially when eating seafood. At Crab House they seem to put butter on the crab meat. It is very different but very tasty!

Zazie – Sunday Brunch

Another day, my friends and I are looking for a place for brunch. We find a restaurant named Zazie in Cole Valley, where we seldom go. That day we get up early and it takes us more than an hour to get there. When we do, we see a lot of people waiting outside. The greeter kindly tells us that it will be an hour wait before we can sit down. You can imagine how popular this restaurant is.

After we are seated, we order a Sunday special omelet, eggs Benedict and a French toast. They are fabulous, and the dishes are healthy — none of them taste too heavy or gross. I learned something from our foodie hangouts. I find that sauces are important to western cuisines. In many restaurants in California, sandwiches, burgers or pancakes may be eaten plain, but if you try them with a special sauce, they taste better. This is somehow different from Chinese food. When preparing Chinese food, I usually use only salt and soy sauce. The flavor comes from the ingredients themselves. That is why most Chinese food tastes light. But I really like the sauces here. One day when I was in Sacramento, I ate a huge burger with barbecue sauce in just five minutes.

I can also share a funny story about culture shock in food. One day we went to a restaurant, and the waiter served us a scoop of vanilla ice cream. “That is generous!” I thought. Guess what? After I tasted it, I found it was not ice cream, but a scoop of butter!

Experiences in all these restaurants have shown me the diversity of San Francisco food. Here you can find food from all over the world. I really, really love the vigor and passion of this city. It has been the best summer vacation I have ever had!

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