In San Francisco, There are supposedly two Chinatowns in one. In this area, tourists flock to jewelry stores and hack suey houses to take photos of erhu players performing on street corners. Meanwhile, generations of residents have worked tirelessly to make it a true cultural and commercial center for the Chinese community. The neighborhood, founded in the 1850s, has weathered systematic discrimination, fires, earthquakes and crises after crises. Over time, several waves of immigration have changed the demographics of the neighborhood, layering it with cultural influences from different regions of mainland China as well as Hong Kong. Unsurprisingly, you can try all these restaurant changes here: Chow mein and Chop Suey from the oldest old-school establishments, tingling and hot noodles from Sichuan, and ambitious and youthful approaches to Chinese cuisine from a new generation of restaurateurs. In such a complicated scene, figuring out the real diamonds can be tough, but here are 15 of my favorites in our historic Chinatown. Starred restaurants are also on the list of top restaurants.

For more inspiration For information on great Chinese food, check out my tips on the best Chinese restaurants in the Bay Area.