Yank Sing - dim sum - San Francisco

Tips for a beginner:

  • Go with a party of three or six, since a lot of items come in threes or sixes.
  • Make a reservation.
  • The Rincon branch has three hours free parking in the basement garage on weekends, $4 for two hours weekdays. Don't forget to get your ticket validated.
  • If you're at Rincon Center, sit inside, the fountain has an unappetizing smell.
  • If you don't tell them what kind of tea you want, they bring jasmine, which I don't like. I always order black tea.
  • If they don't give you a menu with prices (on the back of the wine list), ask for one.
  • If you want to keep the tab down, note the very expensive dishes (e.g. Peking duck $5.25 per slice, honey baked seabass $17.50, soft-shell crab $10 each, minced chicken in lettuce cup $4.80 each) and avoid them.
  • If offered a special that's not on the menu, ask what it costs.
  • If offered something you don't recognize, feel free to ask the server to point it out on the menu.
  • If you get something that should be warm and it's cold, send it back.
  • You can ask for half orders of some of the larger dishes.
  • Generally, the deep-fried items are gross. I rarely if ever see Chinese customers order them.
  • I've never much cared for their siu mai.
  • The turnip cake used to be great but they took out the pork.
  • I used to love the stuffed mushrooms but since they switched from pork to chicken they're not so good.
  • The Shanghai kurobuta pork dumplings aka xiao long bao / XLB are usually worth the price ($11.20 for 6). If you get a batch with torn wrappers, which I guess happens if the XLB masters are all out, send them back, you're paying for perfection.
  • The one deep-fried item I order is the taro dumpling. Ask if they're hot; they're fine warm, but once they get cold they're gross and mealy.
  • My other favorite items: shrimp rice rolls, mushroom dumplings (better than the chicken mushroom dumplings), eggplant with Hunan sauce.
  • It's nice to order a plate of greens to counter the mostly rich food. They always have cold Chinese broccoli ($5.60). Sometimes they have seasonal greens such as stir-fried pea leaf (can be pricey but worth it).

… or just go to Koi Palace.

I was not terribly impressed by dim sum at Koi Palace:

Dinner there was a disaster.

They’re assholes. I love that Michael Bauer had them on his top 100 list for years because he’d go with Cecilia Chang and get the VIP treatment, then last year they didn’t recognize them and he got seated in the dirty “tourist” dining room.


Thanks Bobby.

I’m putting this into my all too fleeting cranial Rolodex.

Not going to lie, Crystal Jade is far better than Yank Sing. The kurobota XLB are on par with the ones in HK. The decor is nicer and the markup similarly steep. The food is more refined and authentic compared to Yank Sing. I’ve been there 4 times now and Sunday will be the 5th before heading home.

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Koi Palace ain’t the very fucking best on the current scene post O9k of course ???

Thanks for the update Portos.

I’ll have to give it a try. Yank Sing was my second favorite after Harbor Village back in the day.

Bobby, whT can you compare it to in LA ???

Thanks a bunch.

I just can’t bring myself to pay the price. I know, I know. I just think/feel that dim sum ought to be ‘cheap.’ Our fave place for the last few years as been House of Banquet on Clement at about 10th. Are we allowed to post links to CH reviews? Their shrimp paste eggplant is SO good and they cook it to order so it’s hot and still a little crispy. We think their chicken feet are the best we’ve ever had anywhere. Etc. :slight_smile:

Sure, link to anything you want. You might start a “best cheap dim sum” topic.

Ooh, there ya go!

Family members swear by Dragon Beaux, which is opened by the Koi Palace folks, but supposedly as good if not better dim sum.

My tip for beginners … Get hammered at mr bings and stagger around Chinatown snapping up uber cheap har gow and pork buns at various Togo and shopfronts for 1/10 price of yank sing and much cooler atmosphere ie Chinatown than a lame soma office building.

Other tip, for dumplings take Bart to Oakland and go crazy at Shan dong with theirs and hand cut noodles also for fraction of cost of ys.

Just a counter proposal for beginners. I know sf has changed …

Since I have dim sum no later than 9AM I think I’ll pass on the getting hammered part :slight_smile: I also never get to-go as I like them piping hot. AND for the last few years we’ve been out on Clement for dim sum. Just my two cents.

fair enough!

i just eat em and walk around looking for the next kill so to speak.

But i think those are just fine tasting albeit smaller variety.

i also like The Saloon up the hill into north beach a wee bit that i think is one of the older bars in the city…very casual day drinker and swinging door atmosphere, and sometimes good music.

for HQ dim sum with big variety i tend to do that in socal…something about the corporate veneer of yank sing just doesn’t do it for me and epitomizes the changes in the city since i lived there. call me nostalgic and change-adverse but i like looking for the vestiges of old SF, the cool old bars and other joynts.

I guess part of my issue would be that I don’t eat buns at all and rarely have har gow. I’m more into chicken feet, stuffed tofu skin, shrimp paste stuffed eggplant. I make a big enough mess eating those sitting down with a napkin tucked into my collar :smile:

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you can nab chicken feet and shrimp paste stuffed eggplant on the fly in chinatown no problem

It’s the messiness factor. Plus I guess when I have breakfast I generally sit down and eat it.

it’s a different take on sloppy drunk i guess…chili sauce and soy sauce sort of blends in with tie dye tho…

was just there this week. enjoyed it as i always do. their dumplings still have the best wrapper… taut, thin and slightly q. fillings are very fresh. their xlb are excellent. we also had the sea bass (fried and seared), both preps were pretty good, but i’m not a huge fan of CSB, so not the best judge.

as a comparison, i went to koi palace this week also. their dumplings are definitely not on the same level as yank sings. but as ever, the crispy sucking pig is exemplary and a must have every time. and the expresso ribs continue to be a favorite item for me.