Tanpopo (Japantown, San Francisco, CA)

9:00:00 AM

Much like Dandelions, a Relic from my Childhood

I visited here with friends early last year as a day trip to San Francisco for YL’s birthday. It was late afternoon and we had just finished exploring the Exploratorium. And we were dying for a bite. Did we mention we came extremely early in the morning because it was free museum day for the Exploratorium?

Anything to save a couple bucks and satisfy the hunger pangs.

So we headed off to Japantown, with our stomachs leading the way.

We ended up at Tanpopo, which was miraculously still open for lunch, even though it was creeping close to 3:00 PM at this point.

Tanpopo is a small restaurant with a handful of tables and a countertop for solo diners and people who just likes interacting with the servers there or watching the television while they’re eating. Even though it was late in the afternoon, the restaurant was roughly 60% full with families, group of friends, couples and a few elderly couples.

The restaurant is bright and friendly with grass green walls and dark tables. The servers went with a similar color scheme with their bright yellow or should I say dandelion colored shirts and black aprons.

We were seated near the front of the restaurant, in front of a window, which gave us a good view of the outside. While they’re well known for their ramen, it was a hot afternoon, so I wasn’t in the mood for steaming hot noodles.

Instead I went for the Hiyashi Chuka. Hiyashi Chuka literally translates into “chilled Chinese,” which makes me think that this originated from the Chinese’s Liang Mian (“cold noodles”).

Tanpopo describes it as a  “cold noodle salad with chashu pork, egg, cucumber, carrot, crab stick, fishcake and red ginger.” It all comes together with a tart sauce and you mix it well before you dig in. Hot mustard is optional if you want a kick in your noodles as well as the lemon wedge for you know the zing!

The dish looked as beautiful as it tasted, with the vibrant colors and the different textures. The noodles were chewy and cooling and paired well with the finely sliced toppings and sauce. For such a late lunch, it most definitely hit the spot.

TIP: There’s a $5 minimum order per person.

Next time, I’ll try their ramen. Since that’s what they’re known for. Where do you usually eat when you’re in the Jtown area?

1740 Buchanan St
San Francisco, CA 94115

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  1. Coming back to such memorable places has always been a great experience, even if the event space NYC are smaller than other. We get so attached to them that we always find excuses to come back. Cheers to old memories!!