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About Nancy

Nancy Lam is an independent food critic that resides in San Francisco. She has also lived in Hong Kong and regularly returns to take part in the culinary delights. As a side-line she has also worked as a strategy consultant. Her services have been engaged at many leading companies including Charles Schwab, Novell, Comergent, and Electronic Arts. She has a passion for finding excellent food wherever she goes, and prides herself on never eating the same thing for more than a month.

Insider Travel tips from Nancy Lam

Nancy's Tips for San Francisco, California

  • Eat at Them Ky. Ghetto Vietnamese that rocks. Go during the day, since it's in a neighborhood that makes you want to hop into the shower. Get their veggie cold rolls, and sweet and sour catfish soup. Note that their pho is chicken broth based, not beef based, but it works.
  • Eat at China Bee. Actually China Bee is in San Mateo, about 20 minutes south of San Francisco, off Highway 101 South, 3rd Street exit. They have the best dumplings and taiwanese "snack" foods. Stay away from the noodles and go for the Shanghai rice cakes.
  • Eat at House. House made fusion popular at a time when "fusion" was only an esoteric physics term. Try their Ahi tartare with nori chips.
  • Eat at Intermezzo. This is in Berkeley, on Telegraph and Channing. Delectable and large-portioned salads, unbeatable honey wheat bread, addictive honey poppy seed dressing, and the best raspberry lemonade. Just don't feel compelled to get a nose ring after being served by the alternative waitstaff.
  • Check out the free shows in Golden Gate Park, especially around the summer time. SF Mime Troupe does some entertaining, politically infused plays.

Nancy's Tips for Hong Kong, China

  • Stay at Harbour Plaza Hotel - Whampoa. President Jiang Zemin stayed here during the turnover event. It has an amazing ocean view, not congested, and is minutes away from the ferry that takes you to the HK island side.
  • Eat at Choi Lan Food strip. It is located at Whampoa Garden, this an aggregation of all that is old-timer good in Hong Kong (i.e. these restaurants are tried-and-true, and been around for a long long time). You will find the best place for won ton noodles (it remains one of few places that uses shrimp to make the soup base), Taiwanese dumplings (Ding Tai Fung), dan dan noodles (this restaurant was previously at Diamond Hill, a district where many Chinese immigrants lived when they came to HK in the 1940s and 50s). After your meal, stop by the dessert cart for some traditional Hong Kong desserts like boot chai go, a gelatin-like sweet cake with red beans. Prepare for long lines, but this is where locals flock and tourists don't know about, but should.
  • Eat at Katiga. It is a locally popular Japanese restaurant that is very kitschy. Food is ok, but go for a taste of where young kids go for fun and some HK/Japanese pop culture. This is hidden on an alleyway in an industrial area in Hung Hom. Take a cab there.
  • Eat at Maxim's. It is one of the best dim sum places around, hands down. Tons of variety, fresh ingredients, and above average service. Must tries: shrimp and chives dumpling, ha gows, mango and shrimp fried roll, and for the more adventurous, marinated bone marrow (tastes much better than it sounds).
  • Many dim sum places have special discounts during brunch and afternoon tea hours. As long as you don't go to lunch from 11:30-2pm, you can experience a sizable discount off your bill. Most restaurants charge you for the small plates of peanuts and chili. You can take them, or take them. These are mandatory charges. 10% tip is already included in the bill. Most people leave just a little bit more (around 3-5%).
  • Most clothing stores will alter garments for free. Some may even do this on premise while you wait.
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