A Look Inside AsiaSF, San Francisco's Fabulous Transgender Haven

Photo of V. Alexandra de F. Szoenyi
Northern California Writer26 June 2017

There are some legendary, must-see experiences in San Francisco besides taking in iconic landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Coit Tower. In typical Bay Area fashion, some are a little more exciting, unexpected, and yet integral to the fabric of the City by the Bay. AsiaSF—restaurant, lounge, and dance club—offers great food, but the main draw is the beautiful transgender ladies who bring the house down night after night with their performances.

The shows

AsiaSF opened in 1998 and became a phenomenon due to its fun entertainment. The Ladies of AsiaSF perform lip-sync, cabaret-style shows with choreographed dancing, all while perched atop the Chinese Red runway bar in the dining room. Each diva has her own set, and style, entertaining in glamorous get-ups and sky-high heels. Guests can see two shows during their dining experience, and on Fridays and Saturdays, pricing includes free admission to their downstairs dance club, for those 21 and over. On “A la Carte Wednesdays,” you can catch the entertainment when you spend a minimum of $25 on a combination of food and drinks, but from Thursday to Sunday, you have to choose a multi-course meal in order to see the shows.

AsiaSF is an excellent place to celebrate bachelorette parties, birthdays, and other special occasions. There are certain party packages and/or perks for each, making it much easier to plan a fun shindig with a group of people. You can even bring those under the age of 21 to dinner shows, but you will be asked to book the first seating only on Fridays at 7 pm or Saturdays at 5 pm.

The food

AsiaSF serves Cal-Asian cuisine, which they describe as “fresh ingredients from California with an Asian twist.” This type of fare translates to delicacies such as the Asia-dilla—a quesadilla containing jack and manchego cheeses, smoked duck, Fresno peppers, and scallions, served with a sun-dried cherry crème fraîche dipping sauce—and miso-glazed salmon served over black “forbidden” rice and accompanied by a sweet tomato-edamame salad. Appetizers range from tamarind chicken satay to wasabi tobiko caviar. Dig into some cool soba sesame noodles, or enjoy a filet mignon with a Korean dipping sauce. Don’t eat meat or have a dietary restriction? Don’t worry as AsiaSF will be happy to offer a variety of vegetarian options and help create a meal that’s perfect for you. Finally, it’s always fun to finish your meal with some dessert. In keeping with the Asian influence, their warm banana beignets are wrapped inside of Filipino lumpia, while the miniature ice cream cones are in Ube, Macapuno, and Langka flavors.

In order to streamline your experience, AsiaSF has different menus catering to the size of your party. The first is the Menage A Trois menu for one to five guests. You can order any first course, any main course, and any dessert or dessert drink. For large parties—six or more people—the food is served family style. Options are the Gold Package (nine items with mini ice cream cones for dessert); the Platinum Package (11 dishes and two desserts), which is their most popular menu; and the Diamond Package (14 items with filet mignon, three desserts, and a Champagne toast). Large parties will also receive a souvenir keepsake menu, perfect for remembering this experience.

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