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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Bank of Italy is key part of downtown San Jose plan

SAN JOSE — The Bank of Italy historic tower in downtown San Jose is slated for more than an eye-catching renovation: The iconic high rise could become an office, cultural, retail, and food hub under a revamp that a development alliance has proposed.

Global development powerhouse Westbank has teamed up with local developer Gary Dillabough to launch a wide-ranging venture that would usher in a dramatic makeover of downtown San Jose, and the Bank of Italy tower is one of the early efforts in the endeavor.

“The Bank of Italy is an amazing building,” said Andrew Jacobson, head of development for Westbank’s San Jose initiative. “The historic characteristics are unlike anything you will see.”

Street-level view of Bank of Italy office and retail tower, looking north along South First Street in downtown San Jose, with exterior staircase and entrance to Fountain Alley visible, concept. Bjarke Ingels Group / Westbank

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Genevieve Ko talks dim sum and Mexican food in the San Gabriel Valley

I became a fan of Genevieve Ko a few years ago when I received a copy of her 2016 baking masterwork, “Better Baking,” as a holiday gift.

I learned many important lessons from that book — the value of investing in a good rimmed baking sheet, for one — and return often to its simple yet profound premise, which is rooted in the idea that minimally processed ingredients, used intelligently, can deepen the flavor of something as familiar as a peanut butter cookie, and make you long for a chocolate sheet cake made using, of all things, creamy sweet potatoes.

Before joining L.A. Times Food as cooking editor nearly two years ago, Genevieve worked as an editor at Martha Stewart Living and Gourmet, among other publications, and has co-authored several well-known cookbooks, including George Mendes’ “My Portugal,” Carla Hall’s “Soul Food” and multiple titles with French American chef

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