Chinatown Menu

This menu, with its vivid cover photo of San Francisco’s Chinatown, is dated August 26, 1949. The breakfast menu’s seven complete meals include broiled fish, lamb chops, ham or bacon and eggs, eggs alone, ham, bacon, or sausage and one egg, corned beef hash, and omelet, all of which include fruit, juice, or cereal, bread, and coffee, tea, milk, or cocoa. Prices range from $1.10 to $1.60 ($9 to $13 in today’s money). The a la carte menu is also pretty extensive.

Click image to download a 1.4-MB PDF of this menu.

The photograph is looking down California Street to Grant Avenue. As shown in the Google street view below, several of the buildings in the foreground still exist but much of the background has changed. The tallest building in the 1949 photo is visible as one of middling height in the modern photo. The California Street Cablecar was apparently under repair when Google took the photo, but a Panoramio photo taken from almost exactly the same angle as the menu shows a cable car being tailgated by a Mini Cooper.

Click image for a larger view.

The Cathay House Restaurant on the left still exists, though the awnings have changed. It’s hard to tell what was in the shop with the awnings across California Street, but currently it’s a shop called Relin that sells Asian collectibles. Whatever was in the yellow building across Grant Street was going out of business when the 1949 photo was taken, and today the building looks in much better condition, though the advertisements on the second floor for palm and tarot card readings do not suggest it is bringing in much rent for its owner.

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