My own private Chinatown

Capital Restaurant’s take on the Japanese egg custard known as chawanmushi

My parents were FOB (fresh off the boat) as we say, and I was born and raised in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Food has always been a huge part of my life — I live to eat, and I love to eat! I dine out seven days a week, sometimes several times a day, everywhere from greasy holes-in-the-wall you’ve probably never heard of to four-star joints run by today’s best chefs. I keep my identity a secret, and I pay my own tab, so you know I’m getting the same experience that you’ll get. My palate guides my opinion, so trust my tongue, and in this new column I’ll take you to all of my favorite places — and I’ll also tell you where not to waste your money.

This month, I’m taking you to my own private Chinatown: The restaurants where I grew up that are still my go-to spots, and the dishes I crave. When you visit these restaurants, there may be a language barrier, and you may even feel out of place at times, but that’s a small price to pay to experience the real Chinatown rather than the safe, mediocre tourist destinations everyone knows (and nobody loves).

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You can hear more of Secret Asian Man's reviews on Cooking with Ryan Scott, Saturdays at 4 p.m. on KGO-AM (810), or check out his blog at