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Recent comparison please, Great Eastern or Bund Shanghai [San Francisco]

We are coming to Chinatown for dim sum tomorrow, Saturday, and it has been a year since we dined at either one. Which is tops for you?

Thank you in advance ~

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  1. Bund Shanghai has dumplings, but does it serve dim sum? Since one is Cantonese and one is Shanghainese, comparing them is dificult.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      As far as I remember, having eaten at Bund Shanghai a number of times, they have XLB but there are NOT a dim sum place. Mainly cause they're Shanghainese and not Cantonese. I LOVE the place but not for dim sum.

    2. Bund Shanghai has xiao long bao, shen jian bao (pan fried buns) but doesn't have sweet/salty soy, yao tieu, nor any of the other staples of a northern breakfast. side dishes yes.

      Great Eastern has the whole line of a cantonese dim sum eatery.

      the food offerings are different, thus not comparable as equals..

      1. Thank you for these reminders. Great Eastern for today!

        25 Replies
          1. re: Melanie Wong

            This was a superb experience. Waited only a moment before going to a table, and immediately given tea and menus.
            We may have ordered too many dishes, but we enjoyed them all. The surprise hit of the meal was the deep fried pumpkin and egg yolk ball. We felt each dish was top class.
            Our order was: sticky rice in lotus leaf, siu mai, gai bao, chashu bao, snowpea sprouts with shrimp dumplings, egg custard tarts, leek dumplings, turnip cakes, coconut milk pudding, rice noodle rolls with beef. All were served at correct temperatures, placed carefully on our table.
            One exception -- predictable in light of the CH reminder -- we did not like the XLB we ordered just to try them. Skins were tough, very little broth, meat tightly packed. We have learned that lesson about regional cuisines on Jackson Street. High recommendation for Great Eastern.

            1. re: anyhow

              So is it menu only? I actually prefer that.

                1. re: anyhow

                  Looks delicious. I love that they have photos.

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    Those pics are great!

                    What's the #63 "dumpling in soup"? Looks like a giant matzo ball. Is that "boon tong gao" http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3125... ?

                    1. re: hyperbowler

                      Hard to say, the photo looks so much like a solid ball rather than a thin skin with filling inside. But if it's not boon tong gao, I have no idea what it could be.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        it may be "shark fin" soup dumpling (or some variation). had it at koi. never tried it at great eastern.

                        1. re: shanghaikid

                          I hope you put "shark fin" in quotes to make the point that it really isn't.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            it's a soup dumpling for sure, (shiu jiao) not sure what's in it.

                            1. re: shanghaikid

                              I just hope that there's no shark fin involved.

                              1. re: c oliver

                                Benu has substituted faux shark fin. martin yan uses truffles. doesn't have to be real shark fin.

                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                              seems we have a linguistic misunderstanding. i see "boon tong gao" as cantonese for "steamed sugar rice cakes".
                              i refer to soup dumplings as "shiu jiao" in mandarin.

                              1. re: shanghaikid

                                Shiu jiao is a boiled dumpling, not necessarily in soup. If you check the link that hyperbowler provided, you'll learn more about what boon tong gao is. Not sugar rice cakes.

                                1. re: Melanie Wong

                                  checked out the pic. it's labeled "shark fin dumpling in soup" it's almost a literal translation of the chinese characters describing same.

                                  the "boon" threw me off since i didn't look at the pics. tong gao= soup dumpling. first 2 characters are "shark fin".

                                  btw, shark fin dumpling is also boiled. seems we are describing the same item using different phrases.

                    2. re: anyhow

                      That menu is much more straightforward than it used to be (or they use a different one in the restaurant). We enjoyed our dim sum at GE but I still remember ordering an item with a cool name and description, only to be served shiu mai :-).

                    3. re: c oliver

                      Yes. Many places that once had carts have gone to menus, but Great Eastern has been menu-only since at least 2002. I prefer it, too, as the food is fresher.

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                        Embarassed to say I haven't been there but that can be corrected in about a month :) I prefer menus for the same reason.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          Great Eastern suffers (unjustifiably, IMHO) from being the runner up to R&G for dinner. Dim sum restaurants rise and fall, but Great Eastern has been consistently good, even if it's never the hot dim sum joint of the moment (except when it was hot a couple of years ago when President Obama stopped in for take-out). I particularly love this photo -- look where the woman's hand is! http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2...

                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                            LOL! And she's actually grabbing, which is what I would do.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              There's another photo with a different woman who is doing the same thing. I don't think I could allow myself to grab the presidential posterior.

                            2. re: Ruth Lafler

                              ROFL! So she managed to get the best buns in there.

                      2. re: anyhow

                        Happy to hear GE worked out so well for your party!

                        Let me link up the report from the dim sum chowdown here a year ago,
                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9023...

                  2. I got dim sum with a few friends today (Sunday, 11:30am) at Great Eastern. The dumplings were mostly duds, but the buns were pretty good.

                    Exceptional
                    #33. Deep Fried Pumpkin and Egg-yolk Ball
                    #17. Steamed custard bun with egg yolk

                    Good, would recommend
                    #5 Steamed pork buns
                    #6. Steamed custard buns
                    #23. Steamed Beef Short Ribs w/ Black Pepper Sauce : too oily for some people, but I liked the flavor and tenderness of the meat
                    #24 Sticky rice in lotus leaf
                    #43 Pan fried leek and shrimp dumplings

                    Okay, probably wouldn't get again
                    #70 Honey Glazed Barbecued Spareribs : not meaty or juicy enough
                    #72 Roast duck : skin good, skimpy on the meat, oily
                    #73 Golden pumpkin fries : batter too thick

                    Bad
                    #9. Shrimp Dumplings (ha gow) glued together
                    #13. Zhiu Zhou Dumplings : pasty, overcooked, skins
                    #41. Pan Fried Bitter Melon Beef Dumplings : I'm a fan of bitter melon, but these were inedibly bitter

                    1. My hubby loves goon tong gao 灌湯餃. HK Lounge on Geary used to have the best ones with shark's fin. It's still good, but it's filled with a small whole abalone as well as minced pork and I think rehydrated mushroom and fish maw. I think this was better than Koi Palace's version. We had this recently in Vancouver and it had fish maw (quite a large piece) with minced park and dried scallops. The broth was a "superior" broth with shredded ham.