I had a lunch date with one of the clients I regularly consult with, and was looking for a restaurant near San Francisco’s Financial District. That sounds easy enough, but it needed to be a place that was both gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly.
Having just read about China Live’s opening, I suggest we go slightly farther afield—to the North Beach side of Chinatown. Luckily for me, my lunch date agreed.
I made sure to arrive at China Live a little early to check out their emporium—and I’m glad I did. In addition to a great selection of premium Chinese pantry staples, they have a number of cute and handy San Francisco-made home goods on display. I wanted to buy all the things.
I especially wanted to buy these seeds AND their gorgeous display cabinet.
Unfortunately, our tiny SF apartment doesn’t have a balcony or any outdoor space for growing anything. One day!
China Live’s Menu Great for Gluten-free Foodies
San Francisco’s new China Live food emporium and restaurant complex is just what gluten-free food lovers have been waiting for. No more guessing if your food is going to give you a reaction or resorting to the most plain-sounding food on the menu. Each menu item is clearly marked with a v for vegetarian or gf for gluten-free. And the member of the management team who stopped by to welcome us to the restaurant let us know they use only gluten-free soy sauce. That gave me positive peace of mind.
We were there on their second day of lunch service. As a result, there were members of the management team on the floor, checking in with diners. One of them stopped by to welcome us to the restaurant. Once we started talking about their gluten-free options, he let us know they use only gluten-free soy sauce. That gave me positive peace of mind. It’s such a small and easy decision for a kitchen to make to provide their gluten-sensitive diners more menu options.
I started out with China Live’s Kurobuta Pork Char Sui. It had just enough crispy edges to make me happy without making it difficult to eat, or drying it out.
The Crysanthemum 10 Ingredient Salad was almost too pretty to eat. But we ate every last crunchy shred of it.
I always order spicy green beans when I go out for Chinese food. Try as I might, I’ve yet to replicate them at home.
Unfortunately for my SO, the Sichuan Blistered Green Beans at China Live are not low-FODMAP. Although onions sometimes disagree with me, I was OK with the amount of onions in this dish.
As it turns out, my vegetarian friend actually eats seafood. So we were able to share an order of Crystal Shrimp. The veggies were more than window-dressing—they were a great flavor and texture accompaniment to the shrimp.
Save Room for Dessert!
This should have been a photo of the Chocolate Tart with Licorice Ice Cream at China Live. Ooops. It’s said you eat first with your eyes. And when we saw this plate hit the table, we dug in immediately. An excellent gluten-free finish to a great lunch.
China Live is open for lunch daily. They don’t take reservations, so try to get there early, especially if you have a large group.
644 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133