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Best Dim Sum in the Bay

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clone_zeta Jan 18, 2009 04:17 PM

Seems like it's been awhile since everyone got all stirred up about this, so I'd like to throw this out for the New Year. I'm a recent transplant to the Bay from Toronto, which probably has the some of the best Chinese food in the world. I would know since I grew up in Hong Kong with foodie parents. I've been extremely disappointed by the "best" chinese places so far. I've tried several places for dinner in SF chinatown, universally bad, not innovative, and the hole-in-the-wall is totally not my thing since that seems to only attract guai-lo and elderly chinese people.

I've tried Koi Palace for dim sum, it is at best mediocre, and the price is pretty outrageous for what they serve you. Yank Sing is the best I've found so far, but it's still not excellent by any means, although all the items are fresh and is approaching the delicacy I would expect from dim sum. All the "offical" reviews seem to rank this place very highly, so I'm worried there's really no better places in the Bay. I have a car and will travel for better dim sum, I'm seriously suffering withdrawal. Any suggestions?

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  1. r
    realspear RE: clone_zeta Jan 18, 2009 04:30 PM

    I like Yank Sing's Stevenson Street location better than the Rincon one. I've been surprised, it seems to have gotten better while Rincon has problems. The last time I ate at Rincon, some of it was cool when it should have been hot.

    There's Ton Kiang, a little expensive, but maybe better, depends on what you like. I've found some of the places in Millbrae and even Belmont to be better than San Francisco. There's one in Belmont on Ralston near 101, I haven't eaten there for a few years, but they had a better selection than many places in the city, including duck's tongue, congee, and tripe prepared several ways. Some of the more standard stuff was good too, but it seemed like they made an effort on the dishes that weren't found everywhere. In Millbrae, I used to eat at Fook Yuen (great name) and they had some interesting and unusual stuff also. The chopped fish heads were excellent if you know where the tasty stuff is. Unfortunately, I can't give recent reports on either of these since I moved to the city a while back, but they are definitely worth checking out.

    1. wolfe RE: clone_zeta Jan 18, 2009 04:32 PM

      I think that you are doomed to disappointment. Your bar seems to be higher than what I have read on this board.

      1. a
        adamshoe RE: clone_zeta Jan 18, 2009 04:44 PM

        Judging by the crowds of 90% asian folks @ Peony in Oakland's Chinatown, they must be doing something right.... I ate there a few months ago and thought it was all really delicious but I'm just a round-eye and far from a dimsum expert. I will try to attach the link. Adam

        -----
        Restaurant Peony
        388 9th St Ste 288, Oakland, CA 94607

        6 Replies
        1. re: adamshoe
          wolfe RE: adamshoe Jan 18, 2009 04:47 PM

          Adam, I would of thought the same from the 95+% at a Koi Palace on a week day, but apparently I was wrong.

          1. re: wolfe
            a
            adamshoe RE: wolfe Jan 18, 2009 04:53 PM

            Maybe they all read Michael Bauer's review translated into Chinese? Haven't tried Koi Palace; have you been to Peony? The place gives cavernous a new meaning! I think they must seat at least 1000 + maybe more in their banquet areas. Went on a sunday and it was a zoo, but were seated w/in a half hour. Adam

          2. re: adamshoe
            daveena RE: adamshoe Jan 18, 2009 05:09 PM

            I think Koi Palace is significantly better than Peony.

            Clone_zeta - what did you have at Koi Palace? When I've had conversations with other people unimpressed with Koi Palace, it turns out that they all pretty much only ordered stuff that was coming around the dining room, and not off the check-off menu. My favorite dishes are the XO pork and mushroom dumplings (XLB wrapper and filled with spicy broth), the fried Dungeness crab legs and carapace that come with the crab XLB, and the egg puffs. If you've had these, and were still unimpressed, I'm afraid I can't help you. I find Yank Sing adequate but grossly overpriced, and only recommend it for vegetarians (I think their vegetarian dumplings are actually excellent and difficult to find elsewhere).

            1. re: daveena
              c
              clone_zeta RE: daveena Jan 18, 2009 05:25 PM

              With the large group we had, we had probably ordered all the dumplings they had. We also had the rice wrappers with the shrimp or other stuffing in the middle. We also had some buns and various things they had wheeled around, such as the lotus leaf rice.

              I just find the dumpling wrapper very thick, which results in chewiness. The same with the rice wrappers, and with slight graininess as well, good ones are supposed to be transulcent with silky texture. The buns' stuffings are not very good. It could be that by the time the items get to us in the large roon, it is already cooled, which does severly impact the texture of hot steamed items.

              I do agree that Yank Sing is very expensive for what the meal is - it is after all dim sum. Fortunately, I'm not a big eater so if this is the best in the bay, I can afford a treat for myself once in awhile.

              1. re: clone_zeta
                daveena RE: clone_zeta Jan 18, 2009 07:36 PM

                I agree that the dumplings with tapioca wrappers at Koi are too thick and chewy, and that Yank Sing's are better. I think Koi's wheat wrappers are good, though.

                I haven't eaten in HK or Toronto, so can't make comparisons personally, but I remember another thread on dim sum here vs. elsewhere, and I think I remember reading that we just don't have enough recent HK immigrants to bring the level of our dim sum up to current HK/Toronto standards.

                1. re: daveena
                  c
                  clone_zeta RE: daveena Jan 18, 2009 08:35 PM

                  The XLB type dumplings are better at Koi for sure - I have found that ShangHai Dumpling Shop in Millbrae to be good as well as a more "pure" XLB place.

                  Your cited reason regarding recent HK immigrants are certainly very valid. I have noticed certainly much more "old schoolness" not only at resturants, but also for even things like medicine shops and bakeries and grocery stores. I'm sure though Vancouver or Toronto will also be old-fashioned compared to HK or ShangHai. I think those places though are helped by not only the fact there are newer immigrants, but also a large flux of young people that frequently visit HK and China, like every year. I can only hope that the Bay will catchup soon, it's surprising that it's not already much closer since there is so much money here!

          3. c
            clone_zeta RE: clone_zeta Jan 18, 2009 05:11 PM

            I guess I'm pretty picky - I've been spoiled. But to be honest, I have secretly suspect that the best dimsum is to be found outside of the city, that's generally the case with areas with lots of chinese settlers :)

            Re: Belmont resturant, is it called ABC? That seems to the place that comes up in searches.

            Re: Fook Yuen, how does it compare to HK Flower Lounge?

            3 Replies
            1. re: clone_zeta
              Ruth Lafler RE: clone_zeta Jan 18, 2009 09:07 PM

              Fook Yuen used to be considered on par or slightly below HKFL (a matter of taste, IMHO, as I found the food at FY to be slightly more robustly flavored but less refined than HKFL), but reports over the last few years are that it's slipped from its high point. I haven't seen a updated report on FY in years.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                r
                realspear RE: Ruth Lafler Jan 19, 2009 09:58 AM

                I haven't been to Fook Yuen for a while, but I started going when I saw a major slip in quality at HKFL. It got very greasy and didn't seem to have the same flavors and textures. I would agree that FY is a bit more "rustic" than HKFL, at least when I last went.

              2. re: clone_zeta
                bbulkow RE: clone_zeta Jan 23, 2009 02:24 PM

                First of all, consider your reference dim sum object. For some reason, my favorite places are terrible at shiu mai. I don't know what it is. They're much better at BBQ pork buns (all flavors). I've sort of given up on shiu mai.

                ABC is a fun place, it's huge and the price is right, but if you're talking exalted quality I'd say it doesn't likely measure up.

                I've been very, very happen recently with Joy Luck Place in San Mateo. it's hard for me to drive past San Mateo up to Koi and Yank Sing - because I get hungry and stop at Joy Luck - so I can't give you a compare-o.

                Last time I was at Fook Yuen and actually had Dim Sum it was pretty good but not great. Dinner was an unmitigated disaster. YYMV.

                I've also been eating at the big place in mountain view - Fung Lum? - great pork buns, almost transcendent.

              3. Sarah RE: clone_zeta Jan 18, 2009 05:31 PM

                Not a huge selection, but perhaps you'll find Harmony in Mill Valley to your liking. Second site posted below has dim sum menu, I think...
                http://www.harmonyrestaurantgroup.com/
                http://www.harmonyrestaurantgroup.com...

                1. Chandavkl RE: clone_zeta Jan 18, 2009 10:17 PM

                  Koi Palace and Yank Sing are it. You're not going to find better anywhere in S.F., or for that matter, the U.S.A. I dream of eating Chinese food in Vancouver, and to a lesser extent, Toronto, all the time.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Chandavkl
                    PeterL RE: Chandavkl Jan 22, 2009 07:23 AM

                    Er, S.F. maybe, but not anywhere in the USA? Have you tried some of the best in L.A. such as Elite or Sea Harbor?

                    1. re: PeterL
                      Chandavkl RE: PeterL Jan 22, 2009 08:06 AM

                      Yes, I'm quite familiar with Elite, Sea Harbour, Mission 261, Lunasia and all of the new wave dim sum and seafood places in the SGV. Also all the places in Manhattan Chinatown and Flushing. As a group the SGV Chinese restaurants are better than the Bay Area as a group, and this extends to all subcategories. But I individually I have to rate the two SF places at the top.

                  2. c
                    ceekskat RE: clone_zeta Jan 19, 2009 07:07 AM

                    Look on the bright side, it is currently 8 below in Toronto. Hopefully, you can take comfort in that & enjoy some ice cream today :)

                    1. toitoi RE: clone_zeta Jan 19, 2009 08:09 AM

                      ---- Toronto, which probably has the some of the best Chinese food in the world ---

                      You had better take a trip south to Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley - Monterey Park, Alhambra and Rosemead - Their restaurants offer the best Chinese cooking in the United States.

                      On New Year's Day, while visiting San Francisco, we had Dim Sum at Gold Mountain on Broadway between Grant and Stockton. I think its quite good - trays of fresh bites coming out constantly. Have you tried there?

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: toitoi
                        Chandavkl RE: toitoi Jan 19, 2009 08:16 AM

                        Yes, while Koi Palace and Yank Sing exceed any single Chinese restaurant in the San Gabriel Valley, on balance the Chinese food in the SGV is better than that of the Bay Area. But compared to Vancouver and Toronto, the Chinese food here in Los Angeles falls way short of Vancouver and the better places in Toronto. I like to say that the worst Chinese restaurant in Richmond, B.C. is better than the best in L.A. The gulf is so great that after my last visit to Vancouver I literally could not bear to eat any Chinese food in Los Angeles for a full month after my return, knowing that I would be disappointed. I'd say wait until you forget what Toronto Chinese food tasted like before seriously tackling Bay Area Chinese food.

                        1. re: Chandavkl
                          Senor Popusa RE: Chandavkl Jan 19, 2009 08:32 AM

                          I have to disagree with you about the SGV dining scene - I think there are several places better than Koi Palace in the LA area and I have not found Yank Sing to be worthy of its reputation. Sea Harbour and Elite (fka New Concept) both come to mind.

                          For the OP - Koi Palace, Hong Kong Flower Lounge and Ton Kiang are the best I have experienced in the bay area, and I don't think you will find something significantly better if better at all, alas.

                          1. re: Senor Popusa
                            Porthos RE: Senor Popusa Jan 20, 2009 09:07 PM

                            Agree with Chandavkl. Koi Palace for dim sum and dinner is far superior to Sea Harbour and Elite. As an example. The whole dungeness crab XLB at Koi Palace: body meat shelled and made into XLB while legs are fried for $32. The whole dungeness crab jook at Sea Harbour was $45+ and just chopped up crab in jook. It's not even close. The latter was more expensive, less labor intensive, and a less graceful expression of dungeness crab.

                            Agree with Senor P that Sea Harbour and Elite beat Yank Sing. Easy.

                      2. h
                        hankstramm RE: clone_zeta Jan 19, 2009 09:32 AM

                        Koi Palace is average at best. For some reason, yelpers associate large crowds of Asian people as a sign of good food. Not so, just drive down Geary on a Saturday night.

                        I concur with Yank Sing on Stevenson as the best. Ton Kiang is better than Koi, but not out of this world either.

                        Unfortunately, I was sworn in to secrecy on my favorite spot by the person who turned me on to it.

                        1. c
                          clone_zeta RE: clone_zeta Jan 19, 2009 09:37 AM

                          Thanks for the responses, I'll make it a mission to try out all the places recommended over the next couple of months (OK, maybe not as quickly for SGV). Please keep the recommendations coming!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: clone_zeta
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                            foodnut.com RE: clone_zeta Jan 19, 2009 10:43 AM

                            Not mentioned is Zen Peninsula, which while not being as good as Koi Palace, has a lots of variety on their dim sum menu. They're kinda slow for dinner.

                            The Kitchen's dim sum is decent but variety and quality aren't up to Koi's. Dinner at the Kitchen is the better bet.

                            ABC Seafood is in Foster City. Solid dim sum but not top tier.

                            Was in Hong Kong 3 weeks ago and gotta say the dim sum was excellent.
                            Some pics for drolling..
                            http://www.foodnut.com/tag/china/page/2/

                          2. toitoi RE: clone_zeta Jan 19, 2009 03:53 PM

                            Here's another recent Dim Sum thread.

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/584326

                            1. s
                              sfbing RE: clone_zeta Jan 20, 2009 10:12 PM

                              I'm Cantonese and picky about my dim sum too. The question strikes a chord with me because I had this exact problem in Hong Kong. Here's my info for what it is worth, although I think you will inevitably be disappointed. The top places for dim sum change with the chef and also with an individual's taste, so your mileage may vary. My cousin from HK likes Koi Palace. I don't like Koi Palace because I feel they put too much sugar in everything. Yank Sing is way too expensive and my parents find it annoyingly pretentious and avant-garde. I personally find their ideas intriguing, but their execution is flawed. Their chili pepper sauce which they sell in jars is excellent, though. Ton Kiang was once a favorite, but nowadays everything is made of shrimp and there is a disappointing lack of offal to cater to the squeamish. South Sea Harbor on Irving is uneven, sometimes good, sometimes just ok. Their taro dumplings are good though and they had a very nice touch of adding orange peel to their fish porridge last I went.

                              So.. your best bet right now is probably Millbrae. HKFL has variety, but is greasy. Fook Yuen is a good standby in the sense that they're boring, but what they do, they do well with fresher ingredients and less grease than HKFL. I would avoid the upstairs, for reasons that I cannot fathom, the food is always worse. Zen Peninsula is pretty inventive and they make a nice house XO sauce, but I think the cooking is a little too savory to be properly balanced and their wrappers are kind of ehh. Asian Pearl across the street is actually making a nice comeback with some surprisingly light dishes. I just had this little shrimp and pork dumpling wrapped in chinese cabbage that was very clean and charming. Hung To in South SF makes decent dim sum for cheap--and they still serve pig's blood.

                              In HK, people kept dragging me to places and telling me it was better than SF and unfortunately they were just HKFL or Fook Yuen. What they meant, actually, was that you could get HKFL style dim sum for much less money. And in HK, money is everything. So I ditched the relatives and went on a "price is no object" exploration of dim sum in HK. The most amazing siu mai I ever had was at Yan Toh Heen in the Intercontinental. The wrapper was smooth and delicate with a pleasing flavor, and the filling was distinctly shrimpy and porky with a juicy, toothsome texture (not too soft, not gristly) and an incredibly light hand with the seasoning. It was so good, I wanted to lick my plate where the excess (!) juice had puddled. Lung King Heen was very good as well, but just didn't quite make it because they committed the sin of letting their food get a little too cold. Sadly, when I went back last year, something must have happened to the chef at Yan Toh Heen, because it was just ok. On the plus side, Lung King Heen was much much better.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: sfbing
                                c
                                clone_zeta RE: sfbing Jan 21, 2009 10:46 PM

                                I'm so glad there's someone out there already doing the dim sum tour. I totally know what you mean about the HK relatives! I found that in HK, some people rate perceived value over excellence, which I guess is fine if you eat out every meal, but such is not the case for me.

                                I've been to a resturant in the Intercontinental in HK, many years ago now, and that dinner was amazing. It was one of those experiences where my palette was constantly stimulated and challanged, and yet everything was harmonious and at the end, I felt like it was a COMPLETE meal, in that there wasn't a single thing I could think of that I wanted. Thanks godparents!

                                You totally made my mouth water with that siu mai description, it reminds me of these wontons I had once at this place in Markham (Toronto), it's unbelievable how a mixutre of pork and shrimp can yield such a delightful bite. That's the second thing I have to find, the perfect jook and noodle place!

                                Thank you for your thoughtful post, I really appreciate all your insights.

                                1. re: clone_zeta
                                  s
                                  sfbing RE: clone_zeta Jan 23, 2009 03:36 PM

                                  Good luck with the search. I don't think you're going to find anyplace you love with a passion, but there should be a couple of places you're happy enough to go to. And my dad, who says I'm being unreasonably picky, says that is all you should expect, because one goes to drink tea and chat, not write theses about the translucency of the har gar wrapper or complain about the lack of offal.

                                  You're probably going to have as much luck with the noodle and jook place, which is to say, not much. You could try Ming Tai in the outer sunset which is a very tiny HK style place. Their wontun are a little too big and the noodles are too soft, but overall the menu and food are pretty authentic. And they cover the jook and noodle spectrum quite well, plus fried chicken wings and sparerib rice pots!

                                  People are also very excited about King on Irving, because of the bamboo noodles. I've tried eating here 5 times, and it is just too uneven. I prefer the geriatric service at Hon's wonton house in Chinatown.

                                  1. re: sfbing
                                    K K RE: sfbing Jan 23, 2009 09:19 PM

                                    Speaking of offal, the best Ngau Dsap 牛雜 I've had in a while at a dim sum restaurant in the Bay Area is Grand Palace in South San Francisco (although a heads up, everything else is just OK or average but satisfactory). The sauce from the stewing/steaming tastes exactly like Hong Kong, except I find the consistency a bit thick and probably heavier on the MSG. But in reality all there was in the mix was honeycomb tripe 金錢肚, daikon, and I believe beef tendon. Super hearty and delish, although not recommended if you have a physical the next day.

                                    Even the most harsh food critics and writers over in Hong Kong only find one or two specialties at their favorite dim sum restaurant. There is no such thing as a place that does everything excellent.

                                    I too have given up on siu mai. The only time I had one that reminded me of Hong Kong was when we had this really great chef (when he was still working at his own restaurant) make one for us from scratch (he was bored that day and made his own, and it turned out to be dessert). The name of this guy is moot because it was a one time only type of thing and an insider only kind of deal. The point is, unless siu mai is made from scratch and steamed and served right away (versus many other places that potentially pre-make them, or outsource them somewhere flash frozen only to be defrosted on the premise....I'm told some places in Hong Kong do this), you're not getting the real deal. i.e. a certain cut of pork, probably upper side of the rear leg, mushroom, fresh shrimp, as the bare minimum.

                                    Agreed that Ming Tai is pretty good, I have not been back in a long time, but recalled that their shui gow 水餃 is fantastic, even surpassing King on Irving by far.

                                    1. re: K K
                                      s
                                      sfbing RE: K K Jan 26, 2009 07:40 PM

                                      For my relatives, availability of offal is a prerequisite of a good dim sum restaurant. If a restaurant stops offering chicken feet, tripe, ngau dsap (with plenty of daikon!), duck tongue, etc., it means they're losing street cred.

                                      Mmm, ngau dsap. Gotta try Grand Palace, and all the other places mentioned.

                                      1. re: sfbing
                                        K K RE: sfbing Jan 28, 2009 03:37 PM

                                        Well don't forget there's also a more common dim sum item of tripe, "ngau bak yeep" 牛百頁 (sometimes pronounced "ngau pak yeep" that is way more common that "ngau dsap" http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E7%89%9...

                                        Beef stomach (honeycomb tripe?) thin slices, which the Chinese wiki says is the "3rd layer" omasum. Sadly the scariest part of the wiki is that the white color is artifically induced. But the sauce is great (mostly ginger and other things). Extra points if it doesn't come out greasy, and is soft and juicy.

                                        Real beef offal typically includes tripe, kidney, lung, heart, intestine, and different cuts of the stomach. I think tendon and tripe are more or less the most tolerable parts in town even to the most hardcore of tastebuds.

                                        1. re: K K
                                          Melanie Wong RE: K K Jan 28, 2009 03:49 PM

                                          No, not honeycomb. It's book trip or leaf tripe. I prefer it to ngau jop.

                                          1. re: Melanie Wong
                                            c
                                            Cary RE: Melanie Wong Jan 28, 2009 03:57 PM

                                            I'm craving some good dimsum now. The past few times, the people with whom I went avoided all the offal offerings >=O

                                            I love all forms and preparation of tripe. From dimsum variations to Mexican menudo.

                                            *drooool*

                                      2. re: K K
                                        w
                                        wahbahdoo RE: K K Feb 9, 2009 04:36 PM

                                        grand palace also has the best roast pork (the cantonese bbq kind with the crispy skin) i've had in the bay area. but also the most expensive (i think $15 for the small plate). the rest of the dimsum is also above average.

                                2. PeterL RE: clone_zeta Jan 22, 2009 07:27 AM

                                  You complain about the prices at Koi Palace but not Yank Sing? Sadly the best dim sum is found nowhere in SF. You'll have to go south to Millbrae or San Mateo. Try the Kitchen in Millbrae or Joy Luck in San Mateo.

                                  Bay Area prices are going to be higher than Toronto.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: PeterL
                                    c
                                    clone_zeta RE: PeterL Jan 22, 2009 07:06 PM

                                    I figured it is moot to complain about the prices at Yank Sing if it is "the best". I kinda figured the best dim sum is out of the city, but since there's quite an area to cover, I had to appeal to the Chow board. How does the places you recommend compare to Koi?

                                    1. re: clone_zeta
                                      PeterL RE: clone_zeta Jan 23, 2009 07:15 AM

                                      Koi is still better in terms of quality. But if your idea of having dim sum is to enjoy good food with good friends in a nice atmosphere, then I'd take Joy Luck in San Mateo. The quality at Joy Luck and Kitchen is not that significantly lower than Koi.

                                  2. h
                                    hankstramm RE: clone_zeta Jan 22, 2009 07:14 PM

                                    I'm still loving it that no one has mentioned my favorite place.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: hankstramm
                                      c
                                      clone_zeta RE: hankstramm Jan 23, 2009 11:49 AM

                                      do share!

                                      1. re: hankstramm
                                        Melanie Wong RE: hankstramm Jan 27, 2009 07:52 PM

                                        These threads come up all the time, so your place might have been discussed at another time. Or trashed, rather than lauded. You might want to do a "search this board" and set the time horizon back 5 or so years to see if it's been talked about before.

                                        1. re: hankstramm
                                          PeterL RE: hankstramm Feb 8, 2009 06:00 PM

                                          Frankly these kinds of responses are tiresome. "I have a secret and I am not telling!" What, are we in junior high? This is a discussion board. It you don't want to discuss, then don't. I personally don't really care what your favorite place is.

                                          1. re: PeterL
                                            PolarBear RE: PeterL Feb 9, 2009 03:21 PM

                                            Well said, Peter. My hope is that someday he has a request and gets his karmic kickback, i.e. zero responses.

                                        2. rworange RE: clone_zeta Jan 24, 2009 07:20 PM

                                          So I cobbled together a list out of this thread, another thread linked here and an East Bay thread
                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/590304

                                          Here's the list
                                          Best SF Bay area dim sum
                                          http://www.chow.com/lists/edit/1019

                                          I KNOW some of these are marginal, but if people want to play, we could all put together a nice list. There's a 25 item limit for lists, so i see this evolving eventually into three lists
                                          - SF dim sum
                                          - East/North Bay dim sum
                                          - Peninsula/South Bay dim sum

                                          As someone said, most places do something really well. So suggested dishes would be nice. it would also be nice to know what to skip.

                                          I may have missed a few in these threads ... the digression here on Hong Kong dim sum and local jook joints threw me. I purposely did not add Peony or Harmony.

                                          Peony I always had the impression was not great. What is good there?

                                          I've been to Harmony. Double Yank Sing prices and half the portion size. What I had didn't impress me except for the pea shoot dumplings ... and it was $5 for two little dumplings. However,
                                          a. I'm no dim sum expert
                                          b. I went two days after it opened
                                          So, things might be better or someone wiser in the ways of dim sum might give an opinion.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: rworange
                                            rworange RE: rworange Jan 25, 2009 04:52 PM

                                            Any updates on Louie's California Chinese Cuisine. Seems like a few years ago everyone loved them and not much about it recently.

                                            1. re: rworange
                                              toitoi RE: rworange Jan 25, 2009 07:56 PM

                                              rw... thanks for posting your list of 25. can't wait to get back to your city and try a few of them.

                                              toitoi

                                            2. hhc RE: asides Jan 27, 2009 10:44 PM

                                              sfgate has a good article on dim sum in SF Bay Area:
                                              http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

                                              1. c
                                                Cary RE: asides Jan 28, 2009 04:11 PM

                                                All Asian food in SF? ALL types and regions of Chinese food in SF? Your statement is a bit broad.

                                                I might agree about dim sum only.

                                                1. k
                                                  koy RE: clone_zeta Feb 8, 2009 05:45 PM

                                                  SF in terms of Cantonese food is a bit of let down compared to Vancouver and Toronto. My brother-in-law has a place in North York which isn't too far from Markham. From there we would make numerous expeditions to Congee Wong, Asian Legend, and innumerable places in Markham and Scarborough. The area around Rt 7 is probably home to some of the best food in North America. Dim sum in TO has that advantage of being high volume and ultra competitive. This is not the case in SF.

                                                  I have not yet been to Yank Sing but I have been to a few places in the city and the peninsula. I went to Ton Kiang several years ago, and I still have no idea what Hakka dim sum is. Yum cha by definition is a Cantonese concept. Ton Kiang food was fair and fairly greasy.

                                                  Koi Palace (no relation) is quite dichotomous in its cuisine. Dim sum and dinner are two independent operations that have the single characteristice of sharing one restaurant. Koi Palace dim sum is mediocre. There, I said it. I've seen people laud this restaurant to no end as if it was run by Hong Xiuquan himself. Koi Palace has great variety but poor quality.

                                                  Koi Palace is good for dinner but only when I go with my in-laws. Koi Palace is typical in that you must be well-known to the management to receive better (albeit average service anywhere else). I don't have the time nor desire to invest in that kind of relationship. If you're willing to deal with the bad service, you can get a good meal here.

                                                  Fook Yuen is a good standby for dim sum. The quality is good and fairly consistent. It is not as crowded as HKFL. Variety is good but not great. Dinner is consistently better than HKFL in terms of entrees and service. I've had better meals at HKFL but only off of the special multi-course menu. Wait is good. Parking can be difficult. The staff is fairly friendly and don't look like they were up all night playing MJ or cards.

                                                  HKFL has the best dim sum that I have been to on the Peninsula. It has good variety and fairly good quality. Services is uh well, perfunctory. My waiter look like he hadn't shaved in days let alone showered. He looked like one of the neighborhood guys from Kung Fu Hustle minus the butt scratching. I gave up trying to establish any relationship here with the restaurant. Dinner here will also only be with the in-laws. Quality can be good, but the restaurant definitely suffers when it's busy. My dinner meals have been fair to good.

                                                  In summary, Air Canada is having a sale on fares to Vancouver. Certainly, give me a buzz if you plan to go. We can stop by Richmond and grab some real seafood. Just don't get your hopes up on finding TO quality food here. The best restaurant here in SF would equate to a very good in Toronto but not an excellent.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: koy
                                                    k
                                                    klyeoh RE: koy Feb 10, 2009 01:03 PM

                                                    My fave dim sum spot in SF has always been Yank Sing. I was there again today, and their prompt/polite/efficient service reminds me of one of the main reasons why I liked the place so much. That, and their less-greasy dim sum selection.

                                                    I'm generally satisfied with the standards of dim sum at Yank Sing: har kow, siu mai, lo mai kai, ham sui kok, wu kok, siu long pau & fung chau were good. When served at the right time, they taste no different from dim sum you'd find in Hong Kong or elsewhere. Yank Sing's har cheung (shrimp roll) was a bit of a let-down - too thick! But it's tasty & not overpowered by the soy sauce - proof that Yank Sing uses only superior quality light soy sauce.

                                                    The only item I didn't like at Yank Sing was the char siu bao - stodgy & yellowish bun, unlike the fluffy ones you'd expect from a top-notch Cantonese dim sum restaurant. And it sure ain't cheap dining at Yank Sing!

                                                    BTW, regarding Ton Kiang, I do agree with koy: don't think there's such a thing as "Hakka dim sum", and those served in Ton Kiang are all really Cantonese dim sum. Off-hand, the only "dim sum-sized" morsels in Hakka cuisine which I can think of are those peppers, eggplants or tofu which are stuffed with fish-paste, akin to the 3 Treasures with bean sauce served at R&G Lounge, Kearny St.

                                                  2. Robert Lauriston RE: clone_zeta Aug 6, 2009 01:42 PM

                                                    Yank Sing was my longtime favorite, but I've switched my allegience to East Ocean in Alameda. I think the chef is ex-Yank Sing, anyway it seems like pretty much the same food at half the price.

                                                    -----
                                                    East Ocean Seafood
                                                    1713 Webster St, Alameda, CA 94501

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                      h
                                                      hong_kong_foodie RE: Robert Lauriston Sep 4, 2009 11:26 PM

                                                      In response to the original post, if you really want good Cantonese food that's comparable to good places in Hong Kong, Koi Palace is your surest bet. However, there is a catch, and that is you have to become VIP and regularly spend lots of money at the restaurant so that they will make the best food for you. Koi Palace is one of the few places in the bay area that has the ability to make a great meal for both dim sum and dinner, but because they have such incredible demand (especially for dim sum, since it's a lot cheaper than dinner), you're not going to get a taste of it unless you go on a non-busy day when the head chef is in the kitchen and the owners make special arrangements for you.

                                                      There are other places in the bay area like Joy Luck Place or Asian Pearl where you can also get pretty solid HK style cantonese food if you are super VIP, but Yank Sing is definitely not one of those places.

                                                      Also, it might be helpful if you let us know what places in Hong Kong you really like and think you should reasonably be able to find here so we have a reference point to make recommendations (or to let you know that it does't exist in the bay area, if that's the case).

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