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Looking for "big steamed chicken buns" in Chinatown

The last time I visited SF, I came across a small bakery in Chinatown, and silly me forgot to jot down the name and location of the place. We ordered a few steamed chicken buns, and they were great! I remember there being mushrooms, an egg, and some other stuff in the buns, unlike many places that will have just meat. I think they were called "big chicken buns", but I really can't be sure. Does anyone know which place I got these from? Thanks in advance.

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  1. Most steamed chicken buns ( gai bow ) are of the large size. Or at least compared to the steamed pork buns. The baked pork buns are pretty large at most places these days. And as you recall, the chicken buns have a chunk of chicken, mushroom, egg and chinese sausage in them - maybe even other tidbits. I think most take away dim sum places will have this. You's Dim Sum on Stockton & on Broadway. Dick Lee on Jackson. And also the places on Clement .... etc. TC pastry on Irving and in Daly City.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gordon wing

      Thanks for the info! Any place in particular that you recommend?

    2. Most bakeries in Chinatown will have these. They're called "gai bow" (chicken bun). They usually also have a little piece of sausage ("lop cheung") - my favorite part. :)

      Some chowhounds here will probably have recs for the best buns.

      1. The little place you are thinking of in Chinatown may be Yun Kee on Jackson near Grant. It is on the northside of the street (left side when you go downhill on Jackson). They are known for their hugh chicken bow and it has hard boiled egg, mushroom, chicken, chinese sausage etc, in it. I think it costs almost $1 each. I used to also love their steamed rice rolls but the last time I bought them, I find them very thick and too much msg.


        1 Reply
        1. re: margret

          That sounds like what I was looking for! Thanks for the info... I will def. look for this place when I go.

        2. Large chicken buns, simply called dai bow, are increasing difficult to find in Chinatown. I think the above mentioned Yun Kee on Jackson St is one of the few places that still make them. I have not had much luck at Yous or Dick Lee. Many places make a regular gai bow (the same size as the steamed pork buns) which has minced chicken in the filling. No large pieces of chicken, hard cooked egg, mushroom, etc.

          15 Replies
          1. re: PBSF

            Thanks for the info. I will def. be visiting Yun Kee.

            1. re: PBSF

              Here's a link to an post from 2 years ago from Yimster tha recommends Yun Kee and also Wing Sing on Stockton St. for the big chicken bao. Please let us know if WS still has them.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Yes New Wing Sing still has been. The one from Yun Kee has a high ratio of pork to chicken while the NWS has much chicken meat. They are both a buck. I have buying mine at NWS lately. I think just chicken is better. Most of the take out dim sum has Ta Gai Bow. Also NWS has a mini chicken bun which is better for a one qucik meal for either 45 or 55 cents.

                Lately I have not been happy with Yun Kee products.

                1. re: yimster

                  Hey, welcome back! The only thing I like at Yun Kee is the flat rice noodle sheets...if that's the place we're talking about.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    It is good to be back. The last time I purchase the rice noodle the fell apart as I rolled them and I did not like the texture and they were too thick and too thin all on the same sheet.

                    I will try again and if they are poor I guess I will have to make the sheet myself. I may have to for go thie dish completely since it not easy to make the noodles at home.

                    1. re: yimster

                      I'll have to give it a try too. Seems like it's been 6 months or so since I last bought any rice noodle sheets.

                      1. re: yimster

                        The sheets on the styrofoam trays in most markets are decent. Just make sure they are fresh (soft to the poking finger) and not from the refrigerator. You will be able to make rolls successfully with these. These are no replacement for the rice rolls at dim sum restaurants...that, you have to make yourself.

                        1. re: margret

                          I have seen the packages but have not had good luck with them. I guess I will give making my own rice noodles next time. I have the recipe, but have not take the effort.

                    2. re: yimster

                      Hi Yimster! I totally agree with you about Yun Kee products. I think all the old timers are gone and they are going the msg route nowadays. I remember I still liked their large chicken buns though. Like I said before, their dried shrimp rolls are horrible. Even the rice noodle sheets are way too thick nowadays.


                      1. re: margret

                        You are right there are no "old timers" left and the only thing I now buy are the rice noodles sheet and peach "brithday" buns (not for eating but for the looks). Otherwise there is nothing worth buying there. It is a ahame since they were the Golden Gate of it's day.

                        1. re: yimster

                          Wanted to mention that you can get peach birthday buns at TC Pastry on Irving in SF or Daly City. They're in the case, no special order needed.

                      2. re: yimster

                        I had one of the "mini" chicken buns over the weekend; they're not so mini, about the size of a typical (steamed) cha siu bow and really stuffed with chicken, chicken, chicken, and pretty much nothing else, They are 55 cents, and an amazing buy for the amount of lean protein. One would hold you until dinner in a pinch

                        1. re: Gary Soup

                          I purchase the mini and full size from New Wing Sing. Also got one from Gourmet Kitchen. I will try them in the next two day and will compare them.

                          1. re: yimster

                            BTW, Louies Dim Sum (on the East side of Stockton between Pacific and Broadway) makes chicken buns that I would call "mini" (but you would probably call "micro"). I thought they were goubuli the first time I saw them, they were about that size.

                      3. re: Melanie Wong

                        Thanks for the info. I'll definitely make a trip to Wing Sing (New Wing Sing) this weekend and report back.

                    3. Is this the address for Wing Sing?

                      339 Judah St
                      San Francisco, CA 94122

                      Also, does anyone have an address for Yun Kee? I can't seem to find it anywhere. I'll probably go check out both places.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: pinkshch

                        I believe that would be Yong Kee, 732 Jackson St. in SF Chinatown.

                        1. re: Gary Soup

                          Thanks, that's perfect. Btw, from the looks of it, Wing Sing looks a bit out of the way. How far is it of a drive from Yong Kee?

                          1. re: pinkshch

                            Wing Sing or more correctly New Wing Sing has two branches. One on Judah and one in Chinatown on Stockton Street. Do not know the address, but if you walk up Jackson and cross the street and turn right go down down about six store front and you are there.

                            Better than Yun Kee.

                            1. re: yimster

                              That's 1125 Stockton.

                      2. Anyone know where to get big steamed chicken buns in/near Oakland?

                        1. Or Clement street? I remember when I was a kid getting big chicken buns at a place called (I think) Fook, but I'm pretty sure that is long gone.

                          1. Recently I have purchased both the big chicken buns and the regular size one from New Wing Sing and Gourmet Kitchen. I did a taste test of the two and compare them to the what I remember from the Yung Kee verison.

                            Both of the two had a higher ratio of chicken meat to pork then Yung Kee's. Both had lop chong, mushroom and egg. At a buck each a complete meal.

                            I think I will buy the smaller verison from New Wing Sing since it was smaller and less filling.

                            With the said next week I will try Yung Kee's verison when I need to do rice again for a party. I hope Yung Kee improves since it is a landmark for old Chinatown.

                            1. Here's the Dai Bao at Wing Lee on Clement St in SF,