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Dim Sum at night in chinatown

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I lived in the bay area when I was young and moved to the east coast and this is my first time back, I am staying down in san jose and will be busy during the day until 5pm. I'd like to drive up to SF a few nights to see the city, alcatraz, etc. I'd like to grab dinner in chinatown, especially some dim sum but I know that is normally a brunch type of thing. Are there any places that serve it at night too that you would recc? perhaps a good buffet (although that can be rare)? Or should I stick to a restaurant? Also, it would be nice if there are some shops, chinese groceries within walking distance so I can have something to do after. I will be driving up so it would also be nice if it was near some decent parking (although I know that can be tough too).

Oh and if anyone has suggestions for some must eat/see places in san jose or SF, I'm open to suggestions. I don't like seafood much. I'd like to keep the meal under $30-$40 but am more concerned about a good meal rather than ambiance. Infact a less fancy place is probably preferred since I will be eating alone. I plan to just find something on tripadvisor.

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  1. Not in SF, but I saw a sign at Legendary Palace (Oakland) that said they're now serving dim sum in the evenings - 5-10pm?

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    Legendary Palace
    708 Franklin St, Oakland, CA 94607

    3 Replies
    1. re: Cindy

      Hmm, what about a buffet that serves dim sum? Anything like that in china town that's good? Or just any good chinese buffet in chinatown?

      Are there any good places to walk around with chinese groceries and shops?

      1. re: lmbgm

        No buffets in Chinatown except for the horrid Dick Lee Pastry buffet. It's something like $5.99, which gives you a clue as to the quality. Best place for walking to buy Chinese groceries and other foodstuffs is the stretch of Stockton St., south of Broadway. Really good Chinese restaurants in Cupertino--that might be the most convenient for you.

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        Dick Lee Pastry Shop
        716 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA

        1. re: Chandavkl

          The grocery stores, butchers, etc. on Stockton St. pretty much close up by dinnertime.

    2. Re parking, there's a reasonably priced (during non-business hours) garage next to the police station on Vallejo. No info re nighttime dim sum.

        1. A couple of notes since it sounds like this trip has personal significance for you:

          Chinatown in San Francisco isn't where you'll find the best dim sum or the most lively night time scene. Of course you still want to go and walk around, but keep in mind there's very good Chinese food in and around San Jose and elsewhere in the city.

          For an earlier meal, you might visit the shopping center where Joy Luck and Ranch 99 are, on the Cupertino-Sunnyvale border, near Wolfe and El Camino.

          You might also head to Clement Street in the Richmond District. I love Spices and Spices II (Sichuan by way of Taiwan), but lots of other options. Follow your nose.

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          Spices
          294 8th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118

          Joy Luck Place
          10911 N Wolfe Rd, Cupertino, CA 95014

          3 Replies
          1. re: Windy

            Good point, in fact there's probably better Chinese food in and around San Jose than in SF. There are definitely better Chinese grocery stores.

            1. re: Windy

              Hmm, I didn't realize,.i thought I'd find the best in chinatown. In that case maybe I'll skip it and find somewhere closer for dim sum. any suggestions for places to go in SF to go instead that have better food than what I can get down in san jose? I guess that is a pretty broad question though. I'm able to drive up for one our two nights so I want to make the most of it. It's just too bad that allot of the sight seeing places are only available during the day

              1. re: lmbgm

                Yes, very broad. What you get in SF versus SJ is a more interesting scene and neighborhoods to walk around.

                Based on what you've said, maybe one night walking around Chinatown and eating nearby (Tony's Pizza, Osteria del Forno, Helmand Palace).

                And the other night wandering around the Mission, where you could go for great ethnic (Poc Chuc for Yucatecan, Limon Rotisserie for Peruvian, etc) or upmarket (Bar Tartine, Range, Bar Bambino, etc) . For one person, you wouldn't need to reserve. Just see what looks good and where you can walk in.

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                Bar Bambino
                2931 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

                Helmand Palace
                2424 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94109

                Osteria
                247 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301

                Limon Rotisserie
                1001 S Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

            2. For what it is worth, Fu Lam Mum in downtown Mountain View, from 9 pm to 1 am

              they have a set of specials where for $10 you can have your choice of 3 of the following:

              Ha Gow - shrimp dumplings

              Siu Mai - shrimp and pork dumplings

              Jing Pai Gwut - Steamed pork ribs in black bean sauce

              Jing Fung Dzow - Steamed phoenix claws (aka chicken feet)

              Seen Juk Guen - Yuba roll with minced pork inside

              Yeh choy go - steamed cabbage cake

              Dau Mieu Gow - shrimp and pea sprout dumpling

              Lor Mai Gai - steamed sticky rice with chicken mushroom preserved sausage wrapped in lotus leaf

              Cha Siu Bao - bbq pork steamed buns

              Lai Wong Bao - steam custard buns

              Tseen Tsuhng Go - Thousand Layer Cake (salted egg layers in between)

              Dzeen Gau Choy Gow - pan fried chive dumplings

              Dzeen Lor Bak Gow - pan fried daikon cake

              Ham Shui Gok - Pan fried glutinous rice puff

              Wu Gok - Fried Taro Puff

              Dza Ha Gow - Fried Shrimp Ball

              Dzeen Dui - Fried Sesame Ball with red bean paste inside

              Luk Cha Dza Tong Yuen - Green tea fried ball (?)

              Pai Gwut Chun Fu Fun - pork chops with rice noodle soup

              See Yau Wong Chow Mein - vegetarian soy sauce fried noodles

              Heung Wu Ngau Sung Jook - taro and minced beef congee

              Seen Ha Suk Mai Jook - Shrimp and corn congee

              Gai Yung Nam Gwa Jook - minced chicken and pumpkin congee

              Pei Dan Sau Yuk Jook - Preserved duck egg and lean minced pork congee

              This was from 2 years ago, not sure if it still holds. I suggest you call and ask before you go if after 5 pm but before 9 pm.

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              Fu Lam Mum
              155 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041

              6 Replies
              1. re: K K

                KK that sounds really good. Do you recommend Fu Lam Mum for lunch and before 9?

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                Fu Lam Mum
                155 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041

                1. re: Windy

                  I would not make FLM a destination stop, but as it is the only dim sum place in the area, can't complain. Otherwise might have better quality dim sum (during lunch hours) at HK Saigon Seafood Harbor (Sunnyvale), maybe Dynasty (Cupertino), that place that replaced Pan Tao/Sam Kee (whatever it is called now) across the street. Otherwise nothing spectacular until Millbrae further north.

                  1. re: K K

                    Thanks!

                    And worth noting to lmbgm that Millbrae is full of good to great Chinese food. Worth a search on the board.

                  2. re: Windy

                    I used to go all the time for lunch when I worked in Mountain View.... They were always very hit or miss. But even when they were hit, I would agree that it is not a "destination".
                    However, it you find yourself in Mountain View craving Dim Sum, it will do.

                  3. re: K K

                    Sounds good although I don't recognize some of those. I've been wanting to eat one of fried sweet water chestnut gelatin cake things, I forget what it's called

                    1. re: lmbgm

                      Water chestnut cake isn't usually fried. I've had it at Hong Kong Flower Lounge; it's usually on a cart rather than trays.

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                      Hong Kong Flower Lounge
                      51 Millbrae Ave, Millbrae, CA 94030