Expand your horizons with these variations on Chinese food in San Francisco

Outside of China, Chinese food ventures far beyond Americanized dishes like chop suey and General Tso’s Chicken. This remarkably versatile cuisine – born of centuries of immigration, persecution, and scarcity – has been reinvented repeatedly as required by custom and circumstance. Here we explore the history of three very different cultural takes on Chinese food, and where you can find them in the Bay Area.

A few featured dishes of Red Hot Chilli Pepper restaurant in San Carlos, Hakka noodles, left, gobi manchurian, center, and spicy paneer, right.

A few featured dishes of Red Hot Chilli Pepper restaurant in San Carlos, Hakka noodles, left, gobi manchurian, center, and spicy paneer, right.

Nicola R Parisi/Nicola Parisi

For Mission resident Saptarshi Guha, who developed his palate in Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta), Chinese food means gobi Manchurian: deep-fried cauliflower florets draped lightly in a spicy, tangy sauce. “It is an adored dish, and it absolutely must be crispy. That is rule number one,” he explained. “If you stop at one bite, that is not good.”

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