Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Jul 3, 2013 10:32 AM

Best XLB in Downtown with easy/safe public transportation? [San Francisco]

Coming in for a conference and looking for the best XLB ( I've been to Shanghai twice and can't get anything close in Louisville, KY.) I know the city reasonably well; will be travelling as a single woman at night- preferably on Muni. Staying Union Square, but willing to travel for great food; just don't know the smaller neighborhoods well enough to know where it okay for me to take public transport to get there.

Wine/Beer a major plus. ;-)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Well, other people have their favorites, but arguably the best xiaolong bao in the city, and the most expensive with its kurobuta pork, happens to be at Yank Sing's two locations downtown. They are only open for lunch though, so I don't know if you can work that around your conference schedule.

    4 Replies
    1. re: W42

      I would vote for Yank Sing's xiao long bao too for quality and access from Union Square. Another option would be Bund Shanghai on Jackson St in Chinatown. An easy and touristic walk from the Union Square area down Grant Avenue, then take a right on Jackson St.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        A few threads on Bund Shanghai,

        640 Jackson St
        San Francisco, CA 94133
        (415) 982-0618

      2. re: W42

        Thanks, w42! I'll have to check the locations to see if there is a way to get there from Moscone in time. I have a free day on Friday, but I'm hoping to join a Walking Food Tour that day so that likely won't work.

        1. re: W42

          Third on Yank Sing. Occasionally the wrappers are wrong, you should feel free to send them back if they're not perfect.

          The Stevenson St. location is a ten-minute walk from Moscone. I've always found the quality from the takeout window (which doesn't have XLB anyway) much lower than in the restaurant.

        2. Any additional suggestions given I may only be able to do XLB for dinner? If I can't do Yank Sing, where's next best?

          1. Unless you want to head outside of downtown, Bund Shanghai or My China are your best bets. At the latter, word has it not to upgrade to the more expensive variety:


            6 Replies
            1. re: hyperbowler

              Thanks, hyperbowler- excellent suggestions! Though I do admit some hesitation to go to a place named " Bund Shanghai" as I've been to the real place ( The Bund) several times and you are unlikely to find soup dumplings there. It's very westernized and upscale. LOL.

              1. re: Debinky

                LOL, they probably wouldn't get many customers with a place called "Shanghai French Concession" :-)

                1. re: Debinky

                  for that matter, the original Bund in Shanghai had signs prominently posted, 'no dogs or china men', obviously irrelevant to whether you find the xiao long bao at the Jackson St. restaurant to your liking, or not. they don't use m.s.g. in their cooking, if that makes a difference. it's the only SF chinatown place we repeatedly visit, and the kitchen is quite consistent, not something to take for granted in many Chinese establishments.

                  1. re: Debinky

                    We come from a land of very good XLB options (Vancouver/Richmond, BC) so I think we are spoiled but I have to say my one sampling of Bund Shanghai's soup dumplings didn't do it for me. Soup was bland, meat ball was insipid and (worst sin) wrapper was too thick. The XLB at Shanghai Dumpling King were far superior, but it is a schlep.

                    1. re: grayelf

                      And the only time we ate at SDK we disliked the XLB. NO soup and nothing else good about it.

                      1. re: c oliver

                        Ah, bummer! We went a few years ago and just had the xlb and the egg puffs. Both were very good.

                2. If it's not too late, I would take public transit to Shanghai Dumpling King in the Outer Richmond, 3319 Balboa St. It's not clean or pretty, but the XLB are good and addictive. Closed Tuesdays.

                  1. Thanks to all for the recommendations!
                    I went to Bund Shanghai last week ( as Yank Sing wasn't open for dinner). Nice walk to Chinatown. I had the pork and crab dumplings they were very good with a good amount of soup and very thin wrappers ( critical). On another trip though, I'd order the plain pork dumplings-, I wasn't getting much of a crab flavor from the dumplings and I think I would have enjoyed a stronger pork flavor. I also enjoyed the DanDan noodles- nicely spicy and well-flavored. Way too much food for one, but still a cheap( er) dinner.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Debinky

                      I'm glad that their wrappers met up to specs--- thanks for the report back!

                      Sorry to hear there wasn't a lot of crab flavor in their XLB. That's been a complaint for some other places around here:

                      1. re: Debinky

                        I like their Dan Dan noodles also.