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

Debinky Jul 3, 2013 10:32 AM

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. d
    Debinky Jul 15, 2013 11:08 AM

    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
      hyperbowler Jul 15, 2013 11:52 AM

      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: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8976...

      1. re: Debinky
        c oliver Jul 15, 2013 03:28 PM

        I like their Dan Dan noodles also.

      2. Discerning1 Jul 15, 2013 10:40 AM

        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. h
          hyperbowler Jul 5, 2013 11:32 AM

          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
            Debinky Jul 5, 2013 11:47 AM

            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
              hyperbowler Jul 5, 2013 08:32 PM

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

              1. re: Debinky
                moto Jul 5, 2013 08:45 PM

                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
                  grayelf Jul 5, 2013 10:48 PM

                  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
                    c oliver Nov 11, 2013 10:39 AM

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

                    1. re: c oliver
                      grayelf Nov 16, 2013 09:45 PM

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

              2. d
                Debinky Jul 5, 2013 11:16 AM

                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. w
                  W42 Jul 3, 2013 01:09 PM

                  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
                    Melanie Wong Jul 3, 2013 02:09 PM

                    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
                      Melanie Wong Jul 5, 2013 11:57 AM

                      A few threads on Bund Shanghai,

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

                    2. re: W42
                      Debinky Jul 3, 2013 02:12 PM

                      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
                        Robert Lauriston Jul 3, 2013 02:38 PM

                        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.

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