James Beard Award-Winning Chef Opens Second SF Mamahuhu Location

I can taste it now. Hot, red oil coats the soles of my cheeks. Soft tofu cubes melt practically with each chew; The grains of steamed rice perfectly absorb the flavor of Dobanjiang and the husks of Chinese pepper crackle the taste buds every now and then.

That’s what you can expect from Brandon Gee’s Mapu Tofu in Mamahuhu, which is now expanding to its second location in Noe Valley at 3991 24th Street, according to Noe Valley Voice.

“We want Mamahuhu to be in neighborhoods with a strong, family-oriented community,” Ben Moore, co-owner of Mamahuhu, told SFGATE via email. “In many ways, we serve food that we grew up loving and enjoying with our families, and we hope to continue that tradition in communities we think will be passionate about it in the same way we do.”

The first location for Mamaho, a Chinese-American restaurant, opened in Inner Richmond at 517 Clement St. In 2020, across the street from Green Apple Books. It is owned by Moore, Anmao Sun and Jew, who is also a chef.

Anmao Sun is a resident of Noe Valley, and the team often walked around the neighborhood imagining what Mamahuhu would look like on 24th Street.

“We connected to Noe Valley early on as a neighborhood that we felt would be excited about what we’re doing,” Moore said. “We were very adamant about finding a great location on 24th Street, so we looked and waited patiently for about a year before we found the right place.”

The restaurant concept pays homage to Chinese fast food in America, which was praised by Jew in an interview with SFGATE in January 2020.

“People really like these flavors, and it kind of made me realize that all of these dishes were developed by Chinese immigrants who were adapting ingredients that were available in America,” said Giud.

Mamahuhu will expand to Noe Valley by the end of this year or early next year.

Blair Hegerty / SFGate

Apart from mapo tofu, there are other popular dishes like sweet and sour chicken, kung pao chicken, broccoli and beef.

Jiu, who was recently named Best Chef: California at the James Beard Awards, has won several awards for his cooking at Mister Jiu’s, an upscale Chinese restaurant with California flair where entrees cost from $20 to $145. Mamahuhu is a lot more approachable, costing nothing more than $17.

“For me, it comes down to accessibility,” Jiwe told SFGATE in 2020.[At Mister Jiu’s] We look for truly exceptional products and sometimes that price tag even higher. There’s more meaning to honoring the culinary tradition, and I’m really proud of American Chinese cuisine.”

To start, the menu at Noe Valley Mamahuhu will be the same as Clement Street. But there may be some new elements the team is trying out.

“We try to keep our menu simple and consistent, focusing on making a smaller batch of dishes but preparing them well,” Moore said. “However, there are some new ideas that we are working on (driven in part by our growth in Noe Valley) that will be on the list by the time we open our doors there.”

However, there is no set opening day yet.

“We recently got the city’s approval for our building permit and we hope to begin renovation soon this year,” Moore said. “Unfortunately, due to global supply chain issues in many industries, many of the materials and equipment that we need for our refurbishment have been lagged or far behind. So we are working to move forward as quickly as possible but some items are out of our control.”

Realistically, the Noe Valley outpost likely won’t open until the end of this year or early next. After that, the residents of Noe Valley can have the Mapo Tofu as they please their hearts.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.