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5 Famous Foods that Originated in San Francisco

5 Famous Foods that Originated in San Francisco


5 Famous Foods that Originated in San Francisco


5 Famous foods that Originated in San Francisco. There are hundreds of foods and dishes found around the US that share the special distinction of being quintessential and original regional fare, much like Philadelphia’s cheesesteak, Chicago’s deep dish pizza, and New Orleans’ Po’boy sandwiches. While these are some of the more commonly known dishes, every major city in the county can point to a few dishes that are deeply rooted in their culinary history. During a recent trip to the Bakery Museum at San Francisco’s famed Boudin Bakery, we discovered that San Francisco is home to many other foods that we enjoy around the country and the world, leading us to dig into the subject a bit more to find other foods that originate in the city. Here goes with the 5 Famous foods that Originated in San Francisco.


Sourdough Bread


Probably San Francisco’s most well-known culinary creation, sourdough bread can trace its roots all they way back the Gold Rush, where French baker IsodoreBoudin first utilized wild yeast found in the area in his recipe, which gave the loafs a tangy, “sour” taste. The bread quickly became a hit with locals, flocking to the small bakery everyday to get their freshly baked sourdough. Boudin’s maintains a bakery in the Fisherman’s Wharf district where they continue to honor the original recipe, making fresh sourdough that people across the country can enjoy.




Cioppino is a tomato-based seafood stew that became the staple dish of the sailors that frequented Fisherman’s Wharf. Initially created as a quick and easy way to utilize any leftover catch they had that day with other readily available ingredients (namely canned tomatoes and wine), it quickly became a preferred dish for the hungry sailors and fisherman to feast on after a long day on the waters. You can still find this dish served in seafood restaurants around the city and the US.


Irish Coffee


You can go into any bar across the world and order an Irish Coffee, a tasty cocktail consisting of Irish whiskey, hot coffee topped with cream. It might surprise you that the cocktail was initially introduced and popularized in the US at San Francisco’s Buena Vista Café. The story goes that a café employee first tried it at the Shannon Airport in Ireland, and then came back to SF to help perfect the recipe. The Buena Vista Café started serving the cocktail in 1952, and it has been a staple of their menu ever since.


Fortune Cookies


Fortune cookies have become synonymous with Chinese food over the years, but in actuality the after meal treat was created and first distributed in San Francisco. MakatoHagiwari, the landscaper and manager of Golden Gate Park’s Japanese Tea Garden, first started handing out the cookies as early the late 1890’s as a thank you to patrons who visited the garden. The claim has not come without some controversy though. In 1983, a federal judge ruled against two other parties to name Mr. Hagiwara as the sole originator of the cookie.


Steam Beer


Although beer most certainly did not originate in San Francisco, a quite unique brewing technique does call the city home. San Francisco is where the Anchor Steam brewery can be found, continuing the tradition of having the crisp, foggy San Francisco air cool the beer down during the fermentation process that started all the way back in 1896. The term “steam” comes from the steam that would emanate from the vats once the air hit them. While it is Anchor Steam alone that holds the right to refer their refreshing brew as “steam beer”, you can find variations of the techniques in breweries across the US under the label “California common”.

5 Famous Foods that Originated in San Francisco

Article by Andrew Armstrong

A Culinary Tour of the Regional Styles of Chinese Cuisine

A Culinary Tour of the Regional Styles of Chinese Cuisine by Andrew Armstrong


Just like one shouldn’t expect to get the same cuisine in Miami that is found in Dallas, Chinese cuisine features many different styles of cooking. Understanding the main regions of Chinese food can help you better understand the culture of the country. Here are eight of the most common Chinese cuisine styles.


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Szechuan or Sichuan

Szechuan cuisine features chilies, garlic, ginger, and peanuts. It’s generally very spicy food, like Kung Pao chicken or Dan Dan noodles. Tea-smoking is a popular technique because the region is very warm and humid. Beef is more common in Szechuan food because of the oxen needed for farming. The meat is tough. It’s either braised or sliced thin for a stir-fry.





Cuisine from the Guangdong Province is known as Cantonese. This style of cooking is probably the most popular version of Chinese food around the world. It features sweeter sauces, lightly cooked fresh vegetables, and seafood, because it’s so close to the water. It’s a mild style of cooking, without a lot of spices and oil. The chef’s goal is to highlight the ingredients. Sweet and sour pork, Chinese steamed eggs, and dim sum are traditionally Cantonese food.


Although Hunan style cuisine is often thought to be similar to Szechuan, there are differences. Hunan cooking offers long-cooked dishes that are spicy. Dishes have more variety than the Szechuan region, because there are more local ingredients available. Common dishes you may have seen on a menu are Mao’s braised pork or oxtail porridge. Hunan cooks don’t use the “numbing-hot” chilies of Szechuan, but often pickle the chilies in vinegar for a hot and sour combination.





Because Shanghai is one of the newer cities in China, it has assimilated many different styles of cooking into its own culinary style. Sugar and soy sauce are important to the flavors in Shanghai. One of the most popular snacks in the area is Xiaolongbao, an inside-out soup dumpling. Chou Dou Fu, smelly tofu, is another type of street food found in Shanghai.



Peking duck is the most famous dish from this region. Restaurants in Beijing that serve the dish tend to focus more on the crispy skin than the duck, but you can’t go wrong either way. For other dishes that go with this style, think fried foods that are served in smaller portions. Jiaozi are traditional dumplings filled with meat and vegetables. The combinations are as endless as the number of cooks.


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Because the Fujian province is on the Pacific, this style of cuisine features a lot of seafood, especially soups. The region is also home to many exotic ingredients, wild herbs, mushrooms, bamboo, and sea creatures like the sea cucumber, sea slugs, and sea vegetables. The food tends to be nutritious, and chefs are precise with their seasonings. Flavors tend to be lighter, with sweet, salty, and sour profiles. The emphasis is on food presentation.



The Shandong province style puts an emphasis on keeping the ingredients fresh. It also has a long coastline and many rivers, so seafood features prominently. Although rich flavors like ginger and garlic are used, Shandong cooks tend to be very judicious in the use of spices. They do use vinegar very heavily, enjoying the sour flavors. In fact, people in region often drink a dark connoisseur vinegar as a medicinal drink. Stir frying is one of the most popular cooking methods.





The Anhui province is a poorer, inland region west of Shanghai. The food tends to be hearty, but healthy, using wild ingredients found in the mountains. Frogs, turtles, and other small animals are stewed for the peasant families. Wild mushrooms are also valued for adding flavor and nutrition to boring dishes. Many wild herbs and bamboo are also added to cuisine.
Rice is the main grain in China, and rice farming led to the development of the agricultural culture in China. For the Spring Festival, families make a special New Year’s cake called “gao” made out of a rice flour. Rice dumplings are common in many regions, and porridge made from rice is a breakfast staple.


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