From fried rice to egg rolls, buns, kung pao, General Tso’s chicken and lo mein, San Francisco offers a zillion places to find excellent Chinese food.
Loaded with fragrant spices, simmered sauteed meat, sauteed vegetables, steamed dumplings and silky noodles, Chinese food is a welcome addition to any occasion. Sometimes even just the aromas we encounter walking down a street in Chinatown is enough to make our mouths water. If you’re looking for authentic, flavor-loaded Chinese cuisine for your next catered event, we’ve rounded up 10 solid options.
This award-winning food truck (known for its Coca Cola-braised pork buns) recently opened a second permanent storefront called Hawker Alley at 357 Kearny Street. Known initially as Chairman Bao, the founder worked as an executive chef at Las Vegas’ Bar Charlie under Charlie Trotter. Hints of this fine-dining pedigree show up in The Chairman’s menu items such as Mise Cured Tofu, Karaage Chicken (with spicy aioli, yuzu honey mustard and cabbage slaw), and Tender Pork Belly (with red miso glaze, turmeric pickled daikon and green shiso). You can order their buns two ways: steamed with the fillings wrapped like a taco or a larger baked sandwich-style version. They also serve rice bowls, seasonal greens and vegan dishes.
How to get it: You can order takeout or delivery from the Kearny Street or Oakdale locations (2723 Oakdale Ave) for smaller catering needs. For larger gatherings, contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or submit a form from their website.
With a location in NYC and San Francisco, Mission Chinese Food is no run-of-the-mill eatery. The menu includes creative Asian fusion mashups with greatest hits such as Kung Pao Pastrami, Thrice Cooked Bacon and Rice Cakes, Salt Cod Fried Rice, Mongolian Long Beans, Taiwanese Eggplant and Sichuan (aka Szechuan) Kimchi. Favorites include Pork or Mushroom Mapo Tofu, Classic Chow Mein (beef, duck confit or mushroom), Fried Garlic Rice and Golden Mountain Spring Rolls. Several dishes are vegan or can be veganized.
How to get it: Order online for pickup or delivery for small gatherings. Mission Chinese Food doesn’t publish a catering menu on their website, but there is one on EZCater.com for more extensive catering services. Each catering menu item serves 10 people with prices around $20 to $40 for appetizers and $50 to $80 for entrees. If you’re not sure what to order for your catered event, dine in at their 2234 Mission Street restaurant and sample dishes.
This popular food truck’s specialty is their Hong Kong-style egg tart, which comes with a flaky, layered crust or a crumbly butter crust (similar to a butter cookie). A rich egg custard fills the inside. If you’re yearning for a Dim Sum-style catered meal, check out their Dim Sum Platter on their catering menu. For about $88, it comes with 60 pieces of deliciousness such as Shrimp Dumplings, Chicken Egg Rolls, Pork Potstickers and Sticky Rice with Pork and Chicken. (Hongry Kong also offers a vegan Dim Sum platter.)
You’ll find tasty appetizers like Popcorn Chicken, Vegetable Spring Rolls and Honey Walnut Prawns on Hongry Kong’s catering menu. Entrees include Kung Pao Chicken, Orange Chicken, Hot and Sour Chicken, Mu-Shu Pork, Chow Mein and, of course, their famous egg tarts for dessert.
How to get it: Pick up takeout from their location at 107 Old County Rd in Belmont, or order delivery. They also sell frozen Dim Sum platters you can reheat at home. Note that currently, their website says orders need a two-week lead time, so your best bet is to contact them at 650-336-5664 for a catering order.
This family-owned restaurant cooks up big trays of traditional Chinese food favorites that serve between 10 and 40 people. Popular dishes include Chow Mein, Sesame Chicken, General Tso’s Chicken, Sweet and Sour Pork, Ma Po Tofu with Pork and Pan-Fried String Beans with Garlic Sauce.
Lin’s catering menu is enormous with something for everyone. Prices start at about $40 for small trays of sides like Egg Fried Rice and about $44 for entrée trays. They also offer some individually packaged meals. The larger trays that feed 30 to 40 people cost about $95. Order from their website or ezcater.com. Note that some reviewers have said Lin’s doesn’t automatically provide utensils, so ask if you need serving and dining utensils.
How to get it: Pick up orders during the day at 337 Jones Street, and they’ll deliver after 4:30.
One look at Bun Bao’s Instagram feed will have you hooked! Bun Bao makes exquisite buns stuffed with an exciting list of fillings such as zucchini and egg, braised pork belly, Szechuan crawfish, braised lamb and curry chicken. They make a few novelty fillings too: Hawaiian Pizza with pork, cheese and pineapple and “The Cheeseburger” with beef, tomato, cheese and hoisin sauce. Vegetarians will find plenty of options too. Despite the “bun” name, Bun Bao makes many Chinese dishes, desserts, snacks and more.
How to get it: You’ll find Bun Bao at many farmer’s markets around the Bay Area, so check their Facebook profile for dates and locations if you want to sample some of these amazing buns. They have a sizable, customizable catering menu as well, with clients such as Apple, Tesla, Google and Facebook. Delivery requires a $100 minimum order and sometimes you can find rebate offers on their website.
Wokitchen’s mission is to show Bay Area diners that “there’s more to Chinese food than meets the eye,” and you’ll see phrases on their website such as “Working on Keeping It True Chinese.” This food truck team backs up what they say with various authentic dishes such as Mu-Shu Pork Tacos, Steamed Chicken with Rice and a Dim Sum menu that includes buns, eggrolls, dumplings, wontons, potstickers and more. Wok-prepared dishes like Cashew Prawns, Sweet & Sour Pork, Black Bean Chicken and Braised Tofu round out the menu.
How to get it: The truck visits various spots around the city if you want to sample the goods. Wokitchen’s catering menu has a wide variety of traditional dishes, including several gluten-free options. They do not post a catering menu on their site, but you can view one on ZeroCater. Another option is to schedule the truck to come to you. Complete a contact form on their site, or call them at 650-648-3865.
If you’re looking for an upscale, full-service Asian catering company, look no further than Le’s. Le’s specializes in special event and wedding catering, serving traditional Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisine with modern accents. The mother-daughter team is proud to be one of the few women and minority-owned catering companies in the Bay Area. Le’s works with iconic venues all over the Bay Area if you need a space to host your event.
You won’t find big trays of ho-hum, ordinary cuisine here! Some examples of their catered dishes include a Chinese Banquet Menu (family-style dishes like Peking Roast Chicken, Chinese Sausage and Prawn Jasmine Fried Rice and Wok Fried Filet Mignon). Le’s also makes plated dishes and passed hors d’oeuvres.
How to get it: Contact Le’s for custom menus and catering orders at 415-943-3608 or submit an online inquiry.
This little storefront restaurant in the Civic Center neighborhood on Larkin Street has been a takeout and delivery favorite for years, dishing up some of the area’s best Chinese food. They offer a vast, eclectic menu of authentic Chinese cuisine with dishes like Mongolian Beef, Mandarin Spicy Eggplant with Shrimp and Chicken, Egg Fu Young and Lamb Stew Claypot. Golden Kim Tar’s catering menu is equally vast, offering entrée trays that average about $45, Chow Fun and Fried Rice trays for $35 and potstickers for $25.
How to get it: Order online (catering delivery has a $100 minimum), or for smaller orders, you can pick up at 434 Larkin Street. Their website indicates they are closed on Saturdays.
This popular restaurant in Outer Richmond is another solid choice for traditional Chinese food with some spicy dishes such as Spicy Dragon Beef (deep-fried beef with sweet and sour sauce), Chili Pepper Prawns, Pork with House Special Eggplant and Salt and Pepper Squid. Restaurant patrons come for their dumplings, which they also sell frozen by the bag. Tsing Tao’s catering menu has plenty of offerings to satisfy multiple palates and prepares trays in three sizes.
How to get it: Order catering trays online (delivery minimum is $25) or pick them up at 3107 Clement Street. Tsing Tao is closed on Mondays.
This popular 30,000 square-foot multilevel megaplex is home to multiple eateries, a market, a tea café, a lounge, and a bar near Chinatown. Eight Tables by George Chen is an award-winning upscale dining experience here. The main restaurant, The Market, prides itself on merging Chinese ingredients with Western culinary equipment to create a wide variety of traditional and Asian fusion dishes. You can order delivery or pickup from their main menu.
How to get it: China Live offers flavor-loaded party packs for large groups that serve about 8 to 10, which you can easily order online. Choose from entrees such as House Famous Kung Pao “Firecracker” Chicken, Shanghai “Fat” Chow Mein, Sichuan Red Chili Prawns and Chrysanthemum Ten Ingredient Salad. In addition to a la carte catering trays, China Live offers some bundled packs with a mix of salads, appetizers, sides and entrees. The delivery minimum is $300.