813 Washington St, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9410837.795051 -122.406729
Neighborhoods: Northeast, Chinatown
Best Chinese food anywhere. – What can I say about Sam Wo's? Only that it's the best Chinese food I've had anywhere in the U.S. It's a complete hole-in-the-wall, but well worth the hike through busy Chinatown. You walk in through the kitchen and upstairs to sit on short stools at a marble slab table. The atmosphere is crowded and noisy, but if you want an elegant dining experience you should probably be eating in another neighborhood. The food is unbelievably delicious and the prices can't be beat. Everyone should try the BBQ pork rice noodle roll at least once - while its appearance is less than appealing to those who are not accustomed to the slimy texture of the rice noodle (which is why my family calls them "slimeys"), the taste is extraordinary. If you're not a fan of vegetables, order them without the cilantro. Other delights include the chow mein, BBQ pork fried rice, and Chinese donuts (try them with or without sugar!). A group of 3-4 can eat for $25 or less. When you're done, walk up Washington Street to burn off your meal, if you so desire. An unbeatable San Francisco experience!
Try to Pork Noodle Roll – if you come to this landmark restaurant, you absolutely MUST try to pork noodle roll. my family likes to call this delictable treat "chinese sushi," as it is a wide rice noodle stuffed with thin bits of pork, and other various ingredients. dip it into the hot mustard to top it off. whenever i order this dish, chinese customers sitting by me always exclaim they are surprised an american would know to order this dish. i have never eaten something like this anywhere else and always make sure to stop by sam wo's whenever i am in chinatown, just so i can get my pork noodle roll fix.
Landmark Chinatown hangout for Beat poets, curious visitors, and anyone in search of a cheap meal. – In Short
This hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant just off Grant Street boasts more than 100 years of popularity--especially with those pinching their pennies. Enter through the bustling, street-level kitchen and ascend the narrow stairs (watch your head!) to two small levels of family-style dining. Enjoy a full order of spring rolls for $2.60, a heaping bowl of famous, combination won ton soup for $3, or choose from more than 100 other dishes for no more than $5.75.
Cheap Eats Here – Let's face it, when in Chinatown, you have an unlimited number of dining establishments to select from. So, why pick Sam Wo? It is one of the oldest restaurants in the area with the colorful history of a rude waiter, Eddie (deceased now) still remembered by the old timers who used to frequent Sam Wo. I haven't been here in about 25 yrs and the prices are ridiculously low. I ordered take-out of 2 chow mein, 1 chow fun and 1 jook with a donut for a mere $21. The chicken/vegt chow mein was very good, not oily but they use the thin noodles, not my preference. The tomato beef chow mein and chicken chow fun were okay. My pork/egg jook was tasty and the donut was great. I think they add MSG to the food for enhancement. Cheap eats this is, but there are better restaurants elsewhere.
Whay goto Sam Wo – Restaurant Sam Wo is a fun place thats authentic enough, but the food is marginal at best. The atmosphere is often crowded with college students who are allowed to bring in coolers overflowing with beer. The service is notorious for being purposely rudealbeit its not as rude as its reputation since Sam Wo passed.
The noise can also be fun also, if not down right loud and the tables are close togetherif youre in a celebratory moodperfect.
Sam Wo offers decent food at amazingly low prices. However, the food tastes similar. Shrimp and beef and noodles as distinguished only by their main ingredient. The food is good, but not great. You wont get a bad meal here but you wont remember the food eitherits the atmosphere youll remember and perhaps how affordable it is.
Will I go back? Absolutelybut not when I want good Chinese foodfor the fun.
The best Chinese food – When I'm craving Chinese food, I go to Sam Wo's. The food is authentic. not greasy at all, and portions are good. Three people can eat here for about 20 bucks.
For a authentic – chinatown experience definitely try out Sam Wo. When you walk in you walk past the kitchen area and up a staircase to the small dining area. The restuarant can be noisy and crowded but I said it was an "experience". The service can be shaky however the atmosphere and the food make up for it. The food is brought up via dumbwaiter from the first floor kitchen and served piping hot. Healthy portions and a serving of chinatown culture - what a great idea for lunch!
Still the same after 10 years – Love this place. Hadn't been back since my college days in SF, but looked the place up on a lark.
It's still there. They took all the frat-house grafitti down and added steel I-beams as part of a seismic upgrade, but the food's still cheap and good.
It's a hole, but one I'll never get tired of.
Go down the hill and to the left after you're done. You'll see a stone cave-like entrance to the bar we used to go to after a big meal. It's the perfect way to top things off.
Oh, so cheap – Everything here is so inexpensive it's crazy. The food is good and the service is just fine -- the service isn't rude. They just mean business here, so skedaddle up the stairs, order your food and enjoy.
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