Dim sum to-go in SF Chinatown
What are your favourite places in SF Chinatown for dim sum to-go? I am thinking they would be mostly bakeries or maybe regular restaurants that also pack up take-away containers. I am looking specifically for places that serve the white steamed rice cake (a bit sour) aka Bak Tong Goh 白糖糕, but any other recommendations would be great too! I never know where to eat in SF Chinatown, and I inevitably wander into North Beach for food.
As a separate question, in the SF boards, does the term "dim sum" automatically imply that it's Hong Kong style food? I ask because I have been to Taiwanese dim sum places that serve foods that are not quite the same as the Hong Kong dim sum that I am used to.
Well, the issue with take out dim sum in SF Chinatown is that different places do different items better. Also there can be a lack of consistency. For example, I like Blue Sky for baked BBQ pork buns, Blossom Bakery for baked chicken buns, and You's Dim Sum (Broadway location) for snow pea leaf dumplings. And then everybody lines up at Golden Gate Bakery for the egg tarts.
The unmodified term "dim sum" refers to Hong Kong/Cantonese food. Sometimes it may be used in connection with Taiwanese items, Shanghainese items etc., but always with the additional description.
So where would the second-best egg tarts be found? The line at Golden Gate can get pretty daunting...
Golden Gate Bakery
1029 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
You's Dim Sum
675 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133
Blue Sky Restaurant
1504 Powell St, San Francisco, CA 94133
133 Waverly Pl, San Francisco, CA
I think most westerners nowadays associate dim sum (點心) with the brunch stuff you get in Cantonese/Hong Kong restaurants without knowing it's actually a generic term and other regions of China have their own styles. In many places within China, Singapore and Taiwan, a similar style is more usually called yum cha (飲茶) which is based on a tradition from which the Hong Kong dim sum is derived from.
Because dim sum has become so popular, other china regions have clumped onto the term. Dim sum strictly speaking is Cantonese. There are however something called Shanghai dim sum (small plates, dumplings, etc.). Also many Cantonese dim sum houses also serves northern style dumplings, XLB, pot stickers, etc.