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Xiao Long Bao in the Mission District?

BerkshireTsarina Jan 15, 2010 06:17 PM

We are coming to San Francisco to eat dim sum and be happy in March! Will be staying in the Mission District, and wondering if there is anywhere close to "home" where we can eat excellent xlb; or is it off to Chinatown? We do not have a car, and have never been to San Francisco before. Relying on the kindness of SF strangers to steer us right ---
TIA, from the snowy, ethnic-food-deprived Berkshires of Western Massachusetts.

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  1. Windy RE: BerkshireTsarina Jan 15, 2010 06:30 PM

    The Mission has hardly any decent Chinese food, although lots of other great options.

    And Chinatown is more Cantonese than Shanghainese. I don't recommend the xlbs at Yank Sing downtown, or at most dim sum restaurants.

    Fortunately there's lots of public transit, and the city is small. I'd go to Shanghai House on Balboa or Shanghai Dumpling King, also on outer Balboa, close to the beach. The fastest way out there is probably the 38 Geary bus.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Windy
      betterbeheaven RE: Windy Jan 16, 2010 09:50 PM

      Really? I found a lot of the items at Yank Sing to be mediocre, but I absolutely adored the XLBs. And I have spent a lot of time in Shanghai! Not a big fan of Heaven's Dog's XLBs though.

      1. re: Windy
        vulber RE: Windy Jan 26, 2010 08:11 AM

        big lantern probably has them, although i don't know if they're any good.

        the 38 doesn't run to the mission, you'd probably have to catch the 22 or 33 first.

        another option that involves less transfers is to take the 48 from 24th street out to the outer sunset/parkside and go to kingdom of dumpling on taraval - they are not dim sum though, just dumpling specialists

        1. re: Windy
          PulledPork RE: Windy Jan 29, 2010 09:08 PM

          The XLB at Yank Sing are fantastic.

        2. m
          ML8000 RE: BerkshireTsarina Jan 15, 2010 06:56 PM

          Heaven's Dog has XLB in SOMA, close to the Mission District, depending on where you stay. I've never had them there but you can read the reviews. Still might be worth going to Shanghai Dumpling King...perhaps hook up a trip to Golden Gate Park at the same time.

          Heaven's Dog
          1148 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

          1 Reply
          1. re: ML8000
            bbulkow RE: ML8000 Jan 15, 2010 09:27 PM

            Heaven's Dog - go for the cocktails. The XLB are OK but nothing special.

          2. s
            shanghaikid RE: BerkshireTsarina Jan 15, 2010 06:58 PM

            shanghai bund on jackson st. is a relatively new shanghaiese restaurant in chinatown. the xlb's are very good there, better than the ones on balboa st. if you make it to chinatown, try them out. i hear the dumplings are good too.

            3 Replies
            1. re: shanghaikid
              Windy RE: shanghaikid Jan 15, 2010 11:41 PM

              Yes, that's the place I was trying to remember. I haven't eaten there, but I think the name is actually Bund Shanghai. You can find positive reports by searching this board.

              1. re: Windy
                shanghaikid RE: Windy Jan 17, 2010 05:42 PM

                you are correct. i think historically before gastronomically. and chinese illiteration first then struggle to figure out what the english name was/is. my bad!

              2. re: shanghaikid
                Paul H RE: shanghaikid Jan 17, 2010 08:44 AM


                Bund Shanghai
                640 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA

              3. BernalKC RE: BerkshireTsarina Jan 16, 2010 10:09 AM

                Here's an off-the-wall idea: Shanghai Ming Zhu that got noticed in this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/665462

                Have not been there myself, but it has caught my eye. The XLB are called out specifically. Its Balboa Park / Mission Terrace location is not exactly in the Mission, but it is totally accessbile by BART or MUNI.

                4 Replies
                1. re: BernalKC
                  shanghaikid RE: BernalKC Jan 17, 2010 05:33 PM

                  ate here, the xlb's didn't "feel" homemade here. parking doesn't exist here. at lunch, it's mostly the muni/agency people here. the "cook" spent most of his free time chatting with the waitress or outside the eatery. smoking?

                  when i asked the waitress "is this xlb?". she hurriedly took the potstickers away.
                  oh, before that, i asked the waitress in english and mandarin, is the xlb homemade? she didn't/wouldn't/couldn't answer.

                  just a caveat emptor, bon appetitt!

                  1. re: shanghaikid
                    ML8000 RE: shanghaikid Jan 17, 2010 07:19 PM

                    re: homemade, you can buy XLBs by the bag. Maybe that was it? A friend picked up a bag of frozen XLBs for a camping trip. At a restaurant they would have been okay but outdoors in chilly weather they were excellent and amazing.

                    1. re: ML8000
                      shanghaikid RE: ML8000 Jan 17, 2010 08:13 PM

                      at certain restaurants, it may be "homemade". even at my standby shanghai in milpitas they sold me the same xlb's that ranch 99 was selling..

                      1. re: ML8000
                        Pandora RE: ML8000 Jan 25, 2010 09:14 PM

                        If you do want to pick up frozen XLBs, you could probably take them back on the plane. We buy frozen ones from Kindom of Dumpling on Noriega regularly. It's not super easy to get there on the train, but is a thought.

                  2. w
                    wanderlust21 RE: BerkshireTsarina Jan 18, 2010 06:29 PM

                    I agree with betterbeheaven, I prefer the xlb at Yank Sing to the others I've eaten in SF (including Bund, Shanghai House, Shanghai DK).

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: wanderlust21
                      walker RE: wanderlust21 Jan 26, 2010 06:43 PM

                      I, too, love the xlb at Yank Sing -- they've always contained the "soup" part. Other dumpling places I've been to have been devoid of the broth.

                      Beware Kingdom of Dumpling (the one on Taraval) -- my daughter loves this place (esp. the tofu salad) but it's not for me. I finally ordered "peanuts" thinking it'd be those boiled in the shell Chinese peanuts. Instead, it was a cucumber salad with a few peanuts thrown in -- no where on the menu had it said anything about cucumber. In fact, we'd already ordered and eaten a cucumber salad and did not want more of the same. It was difficult getting them to take it back.

                    2. BerkshireTsarina RE: BerkshireTsarina Jan 31, 2010 05:32 PM

                      Thanks to all responders! We have longed to go to Yank Sing ever since we discovered its website a year ago, and there is enough consensus in these replies that it will definitely be our focus, both for dim sum AND for XLB's. So here is the finishing touch question, for those of you who are fans of Yank Sing:
                      We are an older couple, we can go during the week as well as on a weekend, so do we choose Rincon Center or Stevenson? Which do you prefer, and why? (Going twice is a possibility, too.)

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: BerkshireTsarina
                        nocharge RE: BerkshireTsarina Jan 31, 2010 08:28 PM

                        Rincon Center. You could go on a Saturday and combine it with a visit to the Ferry Building Farmers Market two blocks away. Make sure to get a reservation.

                        1. re: nocharge
                          walker RE: nocharge Jan 31, 2010 11:05 PM

                          I agree with nocharge. In addition, I go no later than 1 pm because any later and they start to run out of things. When I make the reservation, I specify inside (not in lobby) and prefer near the kitchen door so they hit you first. If you don't see an item you want, just flag down your waitperson and they will make sure you get the item.

                          The one thing I want to steer you away from is the Chinese chicken salad.

                          Phone: 415 957-9300

                      2. s
                        shanghaikid RE: BerkshireTsarina Jan 31, 2010 09:16 PM

                        sorry. wrong thread.

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