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Food & Drink

Keith Lee quits Bay Area food review tour after hospitalization

TikTok food critic Keith Lee, who has amassed a following of over 15 million followers, made his first visit to San Francisco for his 2024 food tour.
TikTok food critic Keith Lee, who has amassed over 15 million followers, has decided to end his Bay Area food tour early. | Source: Jordan Strauss/AP Photo

Keith Lee—one of the most prominent food review influencers on TikTok—has left the Bay Area after only two days, citing concerns over safety, homelessness and an allergic reaction that he says sent him to the hospital after eating at a restaurant.

"I don't believe the bay is a place for tourists right now," Lee said in a post announcing his decision to leave. "The people of the bay are just focused on surviving."

Lee, who has 15.6 million followers on TikTok, said he was shocked at the number of "tents, living structures and burnt-up cars" unhoused people were living in during his visit. Lee called on city leaders to do more.

"From the outside looking in, it did not seem like there was much city interference," Lee said.

Lee also said there were at least six restaurant reviews he didn't post as he doesn't like to "completely tear anybody down."

A big part of his decision to leave the Bay Area was his allergic reaction to shellfish after eating at an unnamed restaurant.

Lee said the restaurant where he ate a "plethora of meats," including shellfish and said staff agreed to clean the grill before preparing his food, but he still had an allergic reaction that hospitalized him.

"The second I ate it, I blew up like a balloon," Lee said, adding he had to take steroids and included a video clip of an apparent emergency room visit.

While some of the Bay Area's food might not have been to Lee's liking, Lee said he greatly enjoyed meeting the locals, including chef Dione Green, owner of the Chef Green food cart in West Oakland, where Lee sampled a tray of tacos.

Lee also said "the people of the Bay were absolutely amazing" in his latest Bay Area TikTok.

Garrett Leahy can be reached at garrett@sfstandard.com