Yank sing location? [San Francisco]
My husband and I will be in the Bay area starting Friday. We had planned to spend 3 days in the Carmel area, 3 days in Yountville & 3 days in San Francisco. Unfortunately, work has reared it's ugly head & we have to cut the trip short. Since we have been to San Francisco before, we are cutting that part of the trip to 1 short day. We will leave Yountville on Wednesday & catch a plane back to Austin at 5:30pm out of SFO. Since dim sum is beyond bad in Austin, we wanted to check out Yank Sing. Can we park at the Ferry Building for several hours & walk there or is there another dim sum place easy to drive to that would be better? We don't relish driving alot in the city.
Yank Sing at Rincon Center validates for the parking garage in the basement, $4 for two hours. Additional time would be $6 per 30 minutes. The Ferry Building is about two blocks away. That's about as close and cheap parking as you'll find in that neighborhood on a weekday.
Obviously lots of people are going to have different opinions—hey, that's the the internet—but I think Yank Sing is the best in the Bay Area and much better than Koi Palace. I've been to Koi Palace multiple times and my last meal at the latter last month was summed up by my friends describing it as "good value for $30." But not a single dish was better than Yank Sing, which we go to monthly.
Now I'm sure there's confirmation bias in my opinion, but Yank Sing seems to top a lot of polls amongst my local Cantonese speaking friends and media publications (of course Koi palace ranks highly too, though it gets a lot of "...but not worth the 2 hour wait" comments). And yes, if it makes any difference when it comes to internet credibility, I grew up with dim sum, my grandfather worked at and founded some famous Chinese restaurants in New York, I've been to top places in Asia etc.
Yank Sing has trouble making decent Dim sum staples like Har gow and Shu Mai. My meal there yesterday was disappointing. Koi palace is the only Bay Area place that makes Dim Sum similar to Dim sum I have had in Hong Kong and Taipei. Personally I much prefer Koi Palace. Maybe time to do a Chow down at both places to compare?
I wouldn't say Yank Sing's ha gau or siu mai is the best I've ever had, but I've ordered both over 20X+ and I would say their version would stand up as at least passable in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Kuala Lumpur, Los Angeles etc. Also, I'm not questioning where you went in Taipei, but I should point out that Taiwanese dim sum is pretty different from Cantonese/Hong Kong style and I've never heard of any place that could do both well (yes, you can get good Cantonese dim sum in Taipei, it's just like getting good French classics in London).
To be specific, I've never had the ha gau stick to the bottom/paper or fall apart when picked up, but the skin is still thin and translucent (and that includes the delivery orders my office gets from Yank Sing many times per year). The ratio of pork:shrimp is consistently pretty good in both dumplings in that one does not overpower the other. You can argue about how much good ingredients vs. recipe matter, but I've been told that Yank Sing sources their pork from kurobuta/Japanese Berkshire farms and their shrimp doesn't come from the usual frozen SE Asian agribusinesses.
I've been to Yank Sing many times more than I have to Koi Palace, but I do recall one time when I felt like a couple of dishes at Yank Sing were off. I asked the owner, Vera Chan, and she admitted that particular chef wasn't in as usual and they had to scramble. So I'm not discounting that you had a bad rendition of ha gau and siu mai, but barring those kind of random problems, I have to wonder whether it was a one off mistake or whether the kitchen is actually slipping (I'll find out next week).
We went to the Rincon center Yank Sing yesterday. We had not been in many years. It was mediocre.
Here is what we ate:
Shanghai soup dumplings- One of the two things we ordered that was very good. Not quite good as Koi palace but very enjoyable.
Chicken lettuce cups- Very good.
Wish we had stopped there.
Sichuan chicken- typical bland greasy fried Americanized-Chinese fare.
Shu-mai- terrible! Tasted like the dumplings my coworker gets from Costco.
Har Gow (Shrimp dumplings)- terrible. Thick wrapper and hard bland filling.
onion pie with sesame dressing- Kind of bland and greasy.
I am surprised so many people rave about this place given the quality of the Har Gow and Shu mai (standard dim sum dishes) we ate yesterday.
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