Best Places to Get Dim Sum in San Francisco

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Get ready to tantalize your taste buds in the delightful world of San Francisco Dim Sum! Brace yourselves, foodies, because we're about to embark on a wild and sensational journey through the city's top-notch dumpling destinations.

San Francisco takes Dim Sum to a whole new level of delicious. Forget boring brunches and mundane breakfasts — we're diving into a culinary wonderland of traditional Cantonese food, where bite-sized treasures reign supreme. Steaming baskets of perfection, delicate morsels of joy, and flavors that will make you weak at the knees await.

The city is a melting pot of cultures, and this diversity is wonderfully reflected in its food scene. One such culinary gem that the City by the Bay offers is a wealth of authentic, mouthwatering, heartwarming Chinese dim sum places. From Oakland to Stockton to the Richmond District, you can find high-quality dim sum throughout San Fran.

From classic shrimp dumplings (har gow) to fluffy BBQ pork buns (char siu bao) and from delicate rice noodle rolls (cheung fun) to sweet egg custard tarts, the dim sum experience is an enchanting gastronomic journey. With dim sum, you can have it all — pan-fried potstickers, scallop shumai, and much more.

And when it comes to finding the best dim sum in the Bay Area, there’s no shortage of places to choose from. The city, particularly its renowned Chinatown — the oldest and one of the largest in North America — is dotted with exceptional dim sum spots.

What Is Dim Sum?

Dim sum is a vibrant, social dining experience where you gather around a table with your squad, armed with chopsticks and ready to conquer an array of mouthwatering delights. Think of it as a foodie adventure, with each dish bringing its own unique flavors and textures to the party.

From fluffy BBQ pork buns that are like soft, pillowy clouds of joy to delicate shrimp dumplings that burst with fresh ocean goodness, dim sum is a non-stop flavor fest. And don't even get me started on the wondrous world of rice noodle rolls — thin, silky sheets wrapped around succulent fillings and drenched in lip-smacking sauces.

But it's not just about the dumplings, my friend. Dim Sum offers an endless variety of tasty morsels, from crispy spring rolls to savory turnip cakes and everything in between. And when you think you can't eat another bite, out come the sweet treats, like custard tarts and sesame balls, tempting you to indulge just a little bit more.

What makes dim sum extra special is the lively atmosphere. Picture a bustling restaurant, the clatter of plates, the aroma of tea wafting through the air, and the joyful chatter of friends and families bonding over these delectable delights.

But with so many amazing Chinese restaurant options, the question begs — where should you go for the best dim sum experience in San Francisco? Worry not, dear foodies, for we've got you covered. 

Here, we'll take you through a curated list of the top dim sum restaurants in San Francisco, guaranteed to satisfy your cravings and provide an authentic dim sum experience.

1. Yank Sing

Often touted as the crème de la crème of dim sum restaurants in San Francisco, Yank Sing has been wooing locals and tourists alike since 1958. This award-winning restaurant is known for its traditional dim sum with a modern twist. 

As soon as you walk in, you'll be greeted by a bustling atmosphere, the tantalizing aroma of fresh dim sum, and the clatter of dishes that sets the rhythm of this delicious symphony.

The Peking Duck served at this renowned dim sum and seafood restaurant is legendary — the crispy skin and tender meat combo create a melody of textures that you'll be dreaming about long after you've left the restaurant. 

And, of course, their Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings) are an absolute must-try. Each dumpling, filled with flavorful broth and juicy pork, is a testament to the culinary craftsmanship at Yank Sing.

2. Good Mong Kok Bakery

If you're looking for top-quality dim sum that’s easy on the wallet, then Good Mong Kok Bakery is your go-to spot. Don't be fooled by the "bakery" in the name; this place is a dim sum haven. With a takeout-only option, Good Mong Kok allows you to savor delicious dim sum wherever you fancy.

The Steamed BBQ Pork Buns are a crowd favorite here - pillowy buns filled with sweet and savory pork that melts in your mouth. Their Shrimp Dumplings, generously filled with fresh shrimp, have won many hearts with their delicate flavor and perfectly translucent skin.

3. Dragon Beaux

At Dragon Beaux, traditional dim sum takes on a creative twist. This restaurant is the brainchild of the Ng family, who've been serving some of the best dim sum in the city at Koi Palace. At Dragon Beaux, they've taken their dim sum game to the next level by experimenting with flavors and presentation.

Their Black Truffle Xiao Long Bao is a delightful surprise, while their Five Guys Xiao Long Bao — five different soup dumplings, each with a distinct color and flavor — is an absolute Instagram darling. For the adventurous foodies, their Seafood Paella Rice Dumpling presents a fusion that's as tasty as it is inventive.

4. Hong Kong Lounge

The Hong Kong Lounge is another favorite among the locals. With a vast array of traditional dim sum dishes done right, it's hard not to fall in love with this place. The restaurant’s charming ambiance perfectly complements the tasty fare.

Their Har Gow (shrimp dumplings) are sublime — plump and juicy shrimp encased in a delicate wrapper that's just the right thickness. The Baked BBQ Pork Buns, with their sweet and crunchy topping, are another must-try, striking the perfect balance between savory and sweet.

5. Palette Tea House

Nestled in the heart of historic Ghirardelli Square, Palette Tea House is a newer addition to San Francisco's dim sum scene but has quickly made its mark. Offering a wide range of dim sum in a stunning location with views of the San Francisco Bay, this is a spot where modern aesthetics meet traditional flavors.

Standout dishes include the Lobster Siu Mai, an elevated take on the traditional pork and shrimp dumplings, and the Seafood Puff Pastry – a delightfully flaky and buttery pastry filled with succulent seafood.

6. Dumpling Time

Dumpling Time is the epitome of East meets West, dishing out an array of Asian dumplings with a contemporary twist. 

The King-Dum, a giant soup dumpling served with a straw, is a fan favorite and a perfect example of the restaurant's playful and inventive approach to its dishes. The vibrant, trendy setting and their scrumptious dumplings make for an unforgettable dim sum dining experience.

7. Great Eastern Restaurant

A classic dim sum joint in the heart of Chinatown, Great Eastern Restaurant is one of those places that keep customers coming back for more. The fact that former President Barack Obama once stopped by for takeout says a lot about its popularity. 

Their Steamed Custard Buns (also known as 'Lai Wong Bao') are a must-try — soft, fluffy buns filled with a sweet, creamy custard that is simply divine.

8. Lai Hong Lounge

For an old-school, cart-style dim sum experience, look no further than Lai Hong Lounge. The atmosphere is bustling and lively, just as a traditional dim sum restaurant should be. 

The Steamed Rice Noodle Rolls, filled with prawns and drenched in sweet soy sauce, are a standout. For dessert, their Egg Yolk Tarts are as delightful to look at as they are to eat.

9. Hang Ah Dim Sum Tea House

Proudly claiming to be the oldest dim sum tea house in America, Hang Ah Dim Sum Tea House has been serving its customers since 1920. Tucked away in a small alley, this restaurant is a hidden gem that dishes out some of the best dim sum in the city. 

The Shumai (pork and shrimp dumplings) and Lotus Leaf Sticky Rice are not to be missed.

10. City View Restaurant

Located in the heart of San Francisco's bustling Chinatown, City View Restaurant is a beloved dim sum destination that has been delighting locals and visitors alike for decades. As you step into the restaurant, the lively atmosphere and the tantalizing aromas will immediately transport you to a bustling dim sum paradise.

City View is known for its classic dim sum offerings, expertly prepared and bursting with flavor. Their shrimp dumplings (har gow) are a standout, showcasing plump, juicy shrimp encased in a delicate, translucent wrapper. The BBQ pork buns (char siu bao) are fluffy and succulent, with just the right balance of sweet and savory flavors.

11. Dim Sum Club

Rounding off our list is Dim Sum Club, located in the heart of Japantown. This restaurant brings together the best of both worlds: the quality and variety of upscale dim sum restaurants with the charm and affordability of a neighborhood eatery. 

Dim Sum for Everyone

Whether you're a dim sum novice or a seasoned veteran, each of these San Francisco establishments offers something unique. The city's dim sum scene reflects the very ethos of San Francisco: a celebration of diversity, a respect for tradition, and a constant quest for innovation. It's an invitation to savor the world in a bite, one bamboo steamer at a time.


City of San Francisco

What Is Dim Sum? The Beginner's Guide to South China's Traditional Brunch Meal | Asia Society

Cheung Fun Noodles | Museum of Food and Drink

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