Best Traditional San Francisco Treat - 2011
A few years after Gold Rush emigrants like the Boudins and the Ghirardellis begun making some of San Francisco's favorite foods, the Lee family moved to San Francisco, where they begun selling Cantonese-style preserved meats. Six generations and 145 years later, the Lees are still making what the new generation of foodies might call local, artisanal salumi — Cantonese style. Walk into the dingy Chinatown shop and you'll see waxed gizzards, dried duck legs, strips of Chinese bacon, and lap cheong, or Chinese sausage. The sausages are far more photogenic then their surroundings, sold in pairs tied together with loops of twine, the kind of thing Underground Market vendors might do to up their old-school cred. The stiff, purplish-pink pork sausages, mottled with white fat, smell of rice wine. Steam or stir-fry them and the fat melts out, perfuming a pot of rice or a wok filled with stir-fried greens, far less sweet and more complex then commercial lap cheong. Once again, local is better.