Inside chef Danny Bowien’s San Francisco launching pad, Mission Chinese Food
Mission Chinese Food has grown from pop-up to permanent resident inside the already-established Lung Shan restaurant in San Francisco’s Mission. But through the years, the decor has maintained its impromptu vibe: A paper dragon snaking along the ceiling has stuck around since the early days.
Mission Chinese Food: 2234 Mission St, San Francisco; 415-863-2800; missionchinesefood.com/sf
When MCF opened, Danny had never even traveled to China. He felt his way through the hallmark flavors and techniques of the cuisine, mastering its high-heat wok cooking along the way.
Danny is an intuitive chef who tends to value deliciousness ahead of authenticity. His Jewish-Szechuan Kung Pao pastrami may be the best example of the way he can seamlessly borrow from many culinary traditions at once to create a distinctive hybridized cuisine.
For the heat-averse, Danny’s signature Chongqing chicken wings must be a terrifying experience. He doubles down on the fire for this dish, tossing the wings in a Szechuan peppercorn and cayenne spice blend, and serving them under a pile of tianjin chiles.
Thrice-cooked bacon—poached, fried and wok-finished—is an MCF staple at both the San Francisco flagship and the New York offshoot. The crispy pork finds its counterpoint in chewy Chinese rice cakes.