On good old Taraval Street, right between the Inner Sunset and West Portal, is one of the city’s quaintest collections of diners, dives, and Chinese food. I absolutely love it over there. Every corner is laden with fresh dumplings, hand-pulled noodles, and Szechuan chicken. It’s a tiny village built on the foundation of hot-and-sour soup, ma po tofu, and bean curd, along with steaming hot pots and mountains of xiao long bao.
But among Taraval’s menu of delicious Asian delights is something not found on every block. It’s a beefy little treat that has earned its way on to my list of must-try San Francisco street snacks.
Onion pancakes can be found at just about any Chinese restaurant, and often they can be made with beef or pork. Shandong Deluxe, on the corner of 21st Avenue, has taken this classic and given it a little twist. Their $7.95 beef wrap is a pancake rolled around stalks of cucumber, scallion, and sprigs of cilantro. The juicy, thinly sliced beef hugs the lining of the doughy spiral, working its way into every bite. Each piece is packed with crunchy green veggies while the beef’s meaty oils bind everything together. It’s the perfect savory concoction of chewy and crunchy textures. The two hot dog-sized tubes are sliced into three pieces each, making them an ideal snack for sharing. Crispy, greasy, and so damn good, it’s everything I’m looking for.
Shandong Deluxe is a quintessential San Francisco Chinese restaurant, with a great big menu, but don’t skip this beef wrap. You’ll thank me later.
Shandong Deluxe, 1042 Taraval St., 415-592-8801 or shandongdeluxe.com