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Eating in San Francisco’s Financial District – Around the World in 24 Hours

Being that I work in San Francisco, where you can literally find cuisines from everywhere in the world, finding Ethnic flavor in my neighborhood is easy.

Right around the corner from my office in the Financial District is John's Snack and Deli. It is not much to look at. It reminds me a bit of New York. But I had noticed that there were crowds at lunchtime.

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John's Snack & Deli
John's Snack & Deli – tiny!

I finally took the time to check it out one day, but the lines were too long. Then I saw they served breakfast. When I got my mission, it literally took 30 seconds to decide that was going to be my breakfast stop!

John's Snack & Deli is famous for their kimchi burritos, in fact, it is #15 on the SF Weekly's 92 best dishes in San Francisco. A personal bucket list along with the 7 x 7 Magazine Big Eat list.

I wasn't up for a burrito, I was interested in trying their Korean sushi, Kim Bap. I ordered a spicy chicken Kim Bap and took it back to my office for breakfast. A perfect way to start the day, there is rice and egg and cucumber and chicken wrapped up sushi style.

John's Kim Bap
John's Spicy Chicken Kim Bap

Breakfast had set the bar high and when I considered how I would match that for lunch (because yes, immediately after breakfast I was thinking lunch!) I could only think of one man in the neighborhood that could meet the challenge…Charles Phan. I headed to the Ferry Building (so blessed, it is two blocks away from my office) and headed to Out the Door.

There was no way I was going to have lunch at the famous Slanted Door, you need a reservation weeks in advance, but I can get delectable Asian delights from his takeaway spot adjacent to his restaurant. Having recently tried his steamed buns, I had been dying to try the chicken rice porridge. Which is exactly what I did (plus another bun of course!).

Out the Door Chicken Porridge

The porridge is like heaven, or at least my idea of heaven. It is cooked with large chunks of ginger which infuse the rice and chicken. It reminded me of a ginseng chicken dish I had during a very cold winter trip to South Korea. It warms the belly and the soul.

The other treat that went with lunch and the recipe I plan to share, is something that I have a weakness for. In fact, now that I know that this item is only two blocks away, I am incredibly worried about how many pounds I might gain if I allowed myself to have it daily….all the more reason to keep Skinny Cow stocked in the freezer (I am so serious about that!). Boba tea. Sometimes called bubble tea or pearl tea. It is seriously addicting!

Boba tea is a Taiwanese drink with tapioca pearls, and it is to die for! It comes in a million flavors, but I like the classic black milk tea variety. And while it will probably be a long while before boba tea shops proliferate America, this is something you can make at home!

Photo credit: Tastespotting

In fact, one of the food blogs I read all the time, The Kitchen, has a great recipe.

Here are more Financial District picks from another local who works in the neighborhood.

How about you? Do you seek out international restaurants in your neighborhood? What has been your favorite experiences?

More of my San Francisco food stories and guides:

Highlighted Restaurants in San Francisco

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Eating in San Francisco’s Financial District

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  1. When I first moved here to wine country, BC there was little to find in the way of ethnic foods and restaurants represented within the downtown area. French and Italian was of course easier to come by than quality Asian, or Jamaican for example. Now we do have a delicious Pho spot, a couple of amazing Thai places – one I am particularly fond of is run by an older lady and her daughter who are quite a team but also have a comedic quality to them which makes the restaurant casual. Mexican is finally well represented as well.
    There is certainly more than charcuterie around here nowadays which can make selecting dinner difficult.

    Looks like you had a lot of fun! I stumbled on this GroupOn for a food tour with a company that offers a food tour of Japantown SF. Do you think this would be something worth while?
    I am doing the Chinatown tour on my own having been there before and throwing caution to the wind.


    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Murissa, what is the tour name?

  2. Oh, I am a bubble tea fan too! Love your pictures 🙂

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Charu, thanks. I am totally addicted!

  3. That korean sushi looks and sounds awesome! Love the pics!

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Amber, you should definitely check it out when you come on your trip!

  4. The tour name is Edible Excursions.
    Do you have suggestions for better food tours of Sam Francisco? Or tours in general?
    We are looking for something unique and not so touristy.


    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Murissa, they are a FANTASTIC tour company. I am not sure about their Japantown tour, but I know that their Berkeley, Oakland, Ferry Building and Mission tours are top notch. I have been trying to get into a Mission tour (they have 2 different ones) for awhile!

  5. I first had bubble tea about 20 years ago in Taiwan and thought it was the best thing EVER! I love Asian food and everything you described, breakfast on up sounds just amazing.

  6. Thomas Murphy says:

    I really want to try that Boba tea!

  7. Dinner at Slanted Door was delicious! Thanks for the recommendation!! And I noticed there is actually (and quite unbelievable) a bubble tea place in my town now – I definitely think I need to try it.

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Katie, yes! Run there now you will love it! As long as you don’t have a “texture” thing!