Nordic and American classics meet at Scandia in San Mateo 

click to enlarge Kung Fu Tacos
  • Juan Pardo/Special to the S.f. Examiner
  • Asian asada steak fries are one of the many unusual yet tasty Asian-Mexican combinations that can satisfy your appetite at Kung Fu Tacos in Daly City.
San Mateo might not have the “Little Mermaid” statue or be surrounded by fjords, but it is now home to a new Scandinavian cuisine restaurant. Scandia is the new incarnation of the former Copenhagen in Redwood City, which moved to the western part of San Mateo near Interstate 280 in the old Our Place space. Scandia serves home-style breakfast, lunch and dinner on a menu that features both Nordic classics and American classics. That means omelettes and corned beef hash in the morning, a shrimp Louis or a Reuben sandwich at lunch. At dinner, start with pickled herring and gravlax, then move to a large plate of prime rib, the Copenhagen schnitzel or frikadeller, better known as a Danish version of Swedish meatballs. All times of the day, you’ll find plenty of choices with cured fish, beloved across Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Of course there’s a burger too — and you can even top it with the classic Danish cheese, Havarti. The interior has hard-wood floors and paneling, silver walls and bar seating that’s perfect for an Aquavit nightcap.

742 Polhemus Road, San Mateo; (650) 372-0888, no website

Daly City

With its catchy name and Asian-meets-Mexican street food hybrid, Kung Fu Tacos has expanded from San Francisco to Serramonte Mall in Daly City. The heart of Kung Fu Tacos’ menu lies in the choice of five fillings: Asian asada steak, nunchuck chicken, char siu pork, mushu veggie and tai chi tofu. Then it’s up to the diners to choose whether they’d like the filling in a burrito, bean, rice and bok choy bowl, green salad, or tacos wrapped in corn tortillas, or on top of fries or nachos. For those seeking their side dish in their entree, all burritos can be made a “California Burrito” with fries added inside for an additional dollar. I’m told this is a popular style in San Diego. Service is fast food style but the caliber of ingredients and creativity set Kung Fu Tacos well above typical mall food court cuisine.

59A Serramonte Center, Daly City; (650) 731-4933,

Redwood City

Downtown Redwood City’s latest opening is May Vietnamese Restaurant. Despite just being in its opening weeks, the restaurant has become a popular lunch option for its bargain-priced noodle dishes, soups and sandwiches. Many Vietnamese standards are available, including the classic noodle soup pho with either a beef or chicken-based broth. Banh mi sandwiches on French baguettes come with fillings like lemongrass chicken and barbecue pork, all garnished with fragrant cilantro and pickled vegetables. There are also rice plates, appetizers like spring rolls, vermicelli noodle bowls, and combination plates for those who want many different tastes. Regardless of the meal, don’t forget to try the Vietnamese coffee with sweetened condensed milk.

2088 Broadway, Redwood City; no phone or website

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