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Dim Sum Chinatown?? [San Francisco]

I have been helping my Ohio friend plan her family's "get in a good family vacation before the kids have all left the nest" 10 day trip through California (SF, Highway One and Hearst Castle, Disneyland, San Diego, etc) with her family....giving suggestions for places to eat along with way. Obviously her time is limited given that itinerary/time frame. And somehow I thought she was going later this month, but just realized from her facebook posts that she landed at SFO this am...and will be there two days. And I will be in SF tomorrow! So we are thinking a meet up is in order, and maybe for dim sum as she wants to give her boys as many "not in rural Ohio" experiences as possible. I was going to suggest Yank Sing, but her family wants to see Chinatown....so it would make sense to meet up there. So what do hounds recommend? Definitely want the carts and that entire experience, and either reservations available or not too much a wait on a Saturday....Suggestions?

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  1. (Touristy is ok. They are tourists, after all:-) But good food is also important. My friend went to Berkeley and is trying to give her sons a feel for why she loves CA so much....

    2 Replies
    1. re: janetofreno

      If it's open, after lunch line up at Golden Gate Bakery for custard tarts.

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Last Sunday at about 11:30 GG Bakery was open with NO LINE!

      1. re: RWCFoodie

        Or Lai Hai Lounge. Great Eastern is completely order off a menu, which is a plus for some people and a minus for others.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          I didn't realize that Great Eastern is menu only-- thanks!Unfortunately, Lai Hong Lounge is also menu only. Carts are more fun for out of towners who aren't very experienced in dim sum.

          I think pairing Yank Sing and Chinatown, despite the small walk in between, is actually a good lesson. Most people in the US aren't used to high quality Chinese with ingredients and service to match. Make a reservation at the Stevenson branch. Afterwards, walk through Chinatown. Enter at the Chinatown gate at Grant. Interesting things to see are Portsmouth Square, architecture on Waverly St. (walking northward and looking up), Stockton north of Clay for a high density of Chinese grocery/herbal/meat shops, and fortune cookie factory on Ross Alley. Stopping in a tea store for a free tasting can be fun and so can going to the Wok Shop if anyone there likes to cook.

          1. re: hyperbowler

            Stockton St. is the actual Chinatown of butchers, vegetable stores, and so on. Grant Ave. is more dominated by tourist shops.

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        1. Janet how about City View on Commercial Alley in between Chinatown and Downtown. A little more quiet and nicer than any of the Chinatown tea houses. An decent dim sum.

          1 Reply
          1. re: yimster

            The last time I went to City View, I thought it had gone way downhill (and I used to go all the time for years). It's not nearly as packed as it once was either. But all that said, it is probably better than a lot of places in Chinatown.