that dish: on a mission

For years I’ve been wanting to go to San Francisco. Not to see Alcatraz, the waterfront or the Golden Gate Bridge, but rather to eat at the hidden foodie heaven Mission Chinese Food.

I first heard of Mission Chinese Food via Anthony Bourdain on his series No Reservations. Originating as a pop-up inside San Fran’s Lung Shan restaurant (an old school joint in the city’s Mission district), the earliest form of Mission Chinese Food was Mission Street Food, run by husband and wife team Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz. Soon chef Danny Bowien came into the picture and not long after, Mission Chinese Food was born.

Based on re-imagined renditions of “Americanized Oriental food” the dishes served at Mission Chinese Food quickly became a hit. Danny Bowien quickly moed up the food ranks, winning multiple accolades across the city’s food scene.

Luckily for me, I did not have to wait for a trip to San Francisco to sample some of Bowien’s Oriental food genius: the NYC location of Mission Chinese Food opened late this summer to much excitement and fanfare and making my way to the Lower East Side became my personal mission.

Last week, that day finally came. Below my experience in pictures:

the holy grail: Mission Chinese Food

the line to get in; it’s best to go early, otherwise be prepared to wait (but there is a free keg of beer if you do)

interior kitsch; lower east side hipster meets chinatown take out

the genius himself

where the magic happens

top to bottom, then left to right: smashed cucumbers, assorted seaweed, salt & pepper shrimp, brisket & broccoli, mapo tofu; everything was OMG effing good surprise stars: smashed cukes and brisket & broccoli for heat junkies: mapo tofu should have tried: salt cod fried rice

table aftermath/ destruction

Go hungry, leave happy :)

Mission Chinese Food, 154 Orchard Street, 212 529 8800, lunch 12- 3:30 PM, dinner 5:30 PM- 12 AM, closed Wed, email for reservations. 

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