Welcome back to Good Taste, a menu for eating well in the Bay Area. This year, the Lunar New Year falls on Sat/10, kicking off two weeks of celebrations across the Bay Area’s Asian communities. Eater SF lists all the fanciest tasting menus that are happening, but stay here for some more humble suggestions on delicious ways to mark the start of a fresh chapter with the Year of the Dragon.
Find prosperity at Damansara
An annual recommendation in this column, San Francisco restaurant Damansara (1781 Church St., SF) offers daily pre-orders to pick up or dine in with its famous Malaysian Prosperity Salad ($48.88) through February 24. Chef Tracy Goh shares that she uses raw salmon sashimi as “a symbol of a new beginning and abundance, pomelo brings blessings, colorful shredded vegetables for harmony and happiness, pickled ginger for longevity, crushed peanuts for liveliness, fried chips represent gold ingots, plum dressing is a symbol of spring.” The salad is meant to serve six or more, and the idea is for the diners to simultaneously mix all the ingredients together in hopes of having a year that is both healthy and wealthy.
Grab lunch at 3 Bottled Fish
Paulette Tran’s awesome Vietnamese cafe 3 Bottled Fish (3251 20th Ave., Oakland) could particularly use some community support right now. She hasn’t even been open a full year yet, and she recently arrived to work to the crappy sight of her window being vandalized for no reason.
Tran’s cafe will be closed on Sat/10 in observance of Tết, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, but it is typically open Wednesdays through Saturdays (she keeps the hours updated on Instagram) — please go give her some business, which will be extra appreciated right now! She also appears at the Stonestown Farmers Market in San Francisco on Sundays and is currently teaching a culinary workshop at a Fruitvale high school.
Go HAM at Dumpling Time
Speaking of fancy, you can get the shi-shi dumplings and more from any of the five Bay Area locations of Dumpling Time at an especially good price during Lunar New Year with limited group feasts that start at $88 for 3-4 people and cap out at $188 for 6-8 people. If you bring the maximum party size, the bill will average out to $23 per person before tax, which is basically a bargain for nine items. The Lunar New Year menus are available through Feb. 17.
Parade over to the House of Nanking
If you’re planning your visit to this year’s Chinese New Year Festival & Parade in Chinatown on Feb. 24, it’s useful to know that the route ends at the Fang family’s House of Nanking (919 Kearny, SF), where you can give yourself over to not making menu choices if you want—they’re happy to find out a bit about what you like and cook for you. The almost 36-year-old restaurant doesn’t accept reservations, so you might want to stake your claim early.
Tamara is the publisher of California Eating and the founder of the new online Music Book Club.