Dumplings at Dumpling Time

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July 13, 2017
Dumplings at Dumpling Time. Photo via Dumpling Time

San Francisco’s Best Dim Sum by Neighborhood

San Francisco is a city that loves to brunch. People do not care what it is. If it's Saturday or Sunday people will line up for it. One such Chinese delicacy, dim sum, has been making people wait in line for years. What is Dim Sum exactly? I'm glad you asked. According to wikipedia:

"Dim Sum refers to a style of Chinese food prepared as small bite-sized or individual portions of food, traditionally served in small steamer baskets or on small plates. Dim sum is also well known for the unique way it is sometimes served in some restaurants, where fully cooked and ready-to-serve dim sum dishes would be pushed around on steam carts by servers who go around the restaurant offering the dishes to customers and marking orders on a card on each customer's table."

Translation: It's really really good. Here are the best dim sum restaurants by neighborhood.


MaMa Ji's (4416 18th St.)
Located in the Castro, MaMa Ji's is the most exciting culinary development since Frances popped up in the neighborhood. Lily (MaMa Ji) was born in Sichuan and brings the homestyle cooking that she grew up with to the masses. What's popular: shrimp and chive dumplings. What you should get: shrimp stuffed eggplant.


Good Mong Kok Bakery (1039 Stockton St.)
If you are in Chinatown and in a hurry, this is your place. Stroll by the window, point at anything. Take it to a nearby park. Scarf it down in 5 minutes. Repeat. What's popular: sui mai. What you should get: har gow.

Delicious Dim Sum (752 Jackson St.)
One word comes to mind when talking about this Chinatown shop: delicious. There's always the rule: if you have to say it, then it's not true. This is the exception to the rule. What's popular: har gow. What you should get: shrimp and chive dumpling.

Financial District

Yank Sing (101 Spear St.)
If you want upscale dim sum experience complete with the servers pushing carts AND a dim sum place with a James Beard Award, this is the place for you. Just point at what you want and you will be served a tasty dish that will whet your appetite for more. What's popular: sesame balls. What you should get: egg custard. Website

Hakkasan (One Kearny St.)
Located on the second floor of the iconic One Kearny building in downtown San Francisco, the West Coast restaurant opened its doors in November 2012 and since then has been delighting patrons with delicious dim sum and a gorgeous view. What's popular: steamed dim sum platter. What you should get: spicy prawn. Website


Hong Kong Lounge (522 Geary Blvd. and 3300 Geary Blvd.)
People have been waiting outside this restaurant for years that made them eventually open a second location. Now there's a debate going on about which one is better between loyalists of both. Either way, you can count on having amazing dim sum. What's popular: Peking duck. What you should get: baked pork buns.

Shanghai Dumpling King (3319 Balboa St.)
Shanghai Dumpling King is the king of Xiao Long Bao, or XLB, a pork dumpling originating from Shanghai, China. Many dim sum places are actually Cantonese, so you will only find the best in Shanghai dim sum places and this is the best. What's popular: Xiao Long Bao. What you should get: Xiao Long Bao.

Ton Kiang (5821 Geary Blvd.)
A few blocks from Hong Kong Lounge, sits another dim sum heavyweight, Ton Kiang. All of their wines, sauces, pickles and stuffings are made from scratch in the kitchen and that's the reason people keep coming back. Also, if you have a allegiance, this is your place to go. What's popular: shrimp sui mai. What you should get: stuffed crab claws.


Dumpling Time (11 Division St.)
Dumpling Time is a neighborhood dumpling-and-beer house that focuses on freshly made dumplings in the Japanese and Chinese traditions. Guests can watch as dumplings of different shapes are formed from scratch in a glass-enclosed "dumpling room."Dumplings include pan-fried gyoza, bao, har gow, Xian dumplings and xiao long bao. Other items include extra-large dumplings, garlicky green beans, shrimp toast, and colorful dessert dumplings. Website


Kingdom of Dumpling (1713 Taraval St.)
A mixture of northern dim sum and Shanghai dim sum style, including a long line that winds itself outside on weekends, KOD has it all. It is quite a drive, but it is well worth it. What's popular: beef pancakes. What you should get: garlic green beans. 

S&T Hong Kong Seafood Restaurant (2578 Noriega St.)
Word on the street is this the Tablehopper's favorite place to eat dim sum. A recommendation from a woman with such impeccable taste can't be off the list. Her favorites should be your favorites. What's popular: shrimp noodle roll. What you should get: turnip cake.


Photo by Torbakhopper / CC BY

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