Most dim sum places in the San Francisco Bay Area are pretty typical of what you can find in Asia, culture and all. And while I love authentic as much as the next person, there is a place that has elevated the art of the dumpling. I am not alone in my opinion, as Yank Sing always shows up in the top five for dim sum year after year. They are known for their steamed pork buns (char siu bao) and Shanghai dumplings, but my favorites are the ones with scallops (pictured). In all the dim sum places I have tried in the Bay Area I don't know of any others who do it.
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Classic and Modern Dim Sum in Downtown San Francisco
In need of classic dim sum in downtown San Francisco? Head to Yank Sing, where you’ll find some of the best steamed Shanghai dumplings in the city.
Opened by Alice Chang in 1958, Yank Sing is still run by the third generation of her family, sending out more than 100 different items on their well-laden carts during service every day.
Your taste buds will be delighted with both the modern and traditional array of dim sum, from Mandarin dumplings with chives to stuffed lotus leaves.
Head to one of Yank Sing’s two downtown locations for lunch on a weekday and you’ll be eating next to the businessmen and women of the Financial District, who often take their work (and their appetites) to Yank Sing. On the weekends, tables spill out onto the surrounding plazas and are full of families and conversation.
Looking for a quick takeout lunch? Head just next door to Yank Sing 2 Go, which has a smaller menu and quicker service.
Yank Sing is open weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call for reservations.
Oddly enough, the best dim sum in San Francisco is not located in Chinatown, but on Spear Street up the road from Pier 14. The food is always prepared, the service impeccable, and the specialized chefs know exactly what they are doing. So many delicious dishes exist at Yank Sing that it's far too difficult to sit down and list only a few.
No matter how much you eat during the main course, grab the egg tarts. They are served warm and ready for consumption. You will have no regrets. Regardless of the bill.
Tip: Try to head out on a weekday, because weekends can be incredibly busy at Yank Sing, especially Sunday mornings. Seating may be limited on weekends and there will probably be a 20-30 minute wait for a table.
There are a few foods and smells that can truly bring me back in time to my childhood. One of them is the scent of the Yank Sing dim sum restaurant in San Francisco.
Coming here was a treat. The steamy pungent air coming from the kitchen were telling of this magic restaurant. Here, we could eat things the looked nothing like what my mother put on our plates. It was like we had left the SF Bay Area and traveled elsewhere.
The warm pillowy char siu bau and a soda were temptations for my brother. For me? egg rolls, fried to an impossible crisp, made my mouth water.
And the last time I visited, just weeks ago at their somewhat new location in Rincon Center, it all tasted just as magical as it had 23 years before.