Well honestly, ideally it would be in the Mission, but I'm mostly trying to avoid going to Chinatown. I used to buy unpackaged zha cai (http://bit.ly/Jlt6Q1) out of a cardboard box at New May Wah. I've also seen it before at the Chinese market on the corner of 23rd and Irving. Neither place has this item any more. You can buy it in sealed plastic, but not loose. The packaged ones just don't taste as good to me.
I've been relying on my mom to shuttle this ingredient over from Oakland Chinatown, but hoping to find it in the city somewhere. Somewhere not in Chinatown. Anyone seen it?