Friday, June 29, 2007

Chinablogging, Part 1

Currently writing this from my hotel room in Beijing, where they've graciously provided free internet access. It's 10:15 Beijing time, wrapping up day three of my 12-day tour of Shanghai, Beijing, Guilin, and Xian. Lots of stuff to write about. And the food! :)

Friday, June 08, 2007


One of the sad realities of living in San Francisco is that the cost of your average lunch is almost always in double digit territory. You can find places that will deliver a solid meal for under $10, but they're usually burrito joints, pizza places, or cheap/ghetto Chinese restaurants. The restaurant that serves a high quality non-burrito, non-pizza, non-Chinese lunch for under ten dollars is something of a rarity these days. A place that does this well without cutting corners is a rare gem.

This is my story about a neighborhood market-slash-deli with a French name, stocked with British and Austrian chocolates, and specializing in Middle Eastern wraps. I went to Le Petit Marchet for lunch yesterday, and this is definitely going on my shortlist of must-eat places in the city.

LPM occupies a stretch of Polk Street that is dominated by shops, bars, and other eateries. Across the street is the scandal-ridden Quickly pearl milk teahouse, the East Coast West Delicatessen, and a sit-down Moroccan place/hookah bar. Hahn's Hibachi is right next door, but the real gem, hidden in plain sight, is the shawerma advertised on their bright yellow awning in flowing cursive script, tucked away in a glorious mess of primary colors.


Had the Lamb shawerma (spicy). Slices of lamb served on crisp, thin lavash roll, wrapped with fresh hummus, baba ganoush, tabouli and salata. The spicy version includes a dash of red sauce as well. Flavours were well balanced, and the lamb was not very gamey - balanced flavours, not too spicy, but just enough to perk up the meat a little bit. What really got me was the way they toasted the shawerma -- the lavash roll skin came out perfectly crisp and light.

Team it up with either a fountain drink or a Mango Lassi from the refrigerated section, and you've got a great meal for less than $10.

There are two small 2-seaters tables outside in the covered sidewalk area, as well as four 2-seaters inside the store itself. Push together for small groups, or take it to go.

FACILITIES/CLEANLINESS: This market is absolutely pristine. I'd have no qualms taking anyone here, germaphobes included.

(Review Crossposted on

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