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Xiao Long Bao in the Mission District?

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. 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

      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

        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

          The XLB at Yank Sing are fantastic.

        2. 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.

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

          1 Reply
          1. re: ML8000

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

          2. 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

              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

                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

                Link...

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                Bund Shanghai
                640 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA

              3. 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

                  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

                    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

                      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

                        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. 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

                      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. 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

                        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

                          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