Five Things We Learned From Savor Oakland's Chinatown Tour

Ferron Salniker
Guilin noodles at Classic Guilin Rice Noodles
It's a beautiful thing when strangers come together on the street to devour warm pork buns in a downpour. Last Saturday, I braved the rain with Savor Oakland Food Tours and a few kindred spirits for a three-hour walking tour of Oakland Chinatown. The husband-and-wife team launched about two years ago, and have been charming locals and tourists alike with a winning formula that combines historical narrative and cultural context to explore Oakland and its food.

See also: Oakland's Champa Garden Brings Laotion Food to Ingleside

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Yank Sing Profiles Customers As Asian, Non-Asian

Turns out that the ordering system at Yank Sing, that profiles customers on whether they're Asian, non-Asian or child, is the company's way of tracking demographics.

A popular photo posted on Reddit earlier today shows a waiter ringing in a customer's tab and captures a computer screen where servers must categorize the diner on their Asian or non-Asian background.

Shift lead Shi Li, who works at the Stevenson St. location downtown, said that the options don't lead to any sort of discount, extras, or priority seating.

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Xiao Long Bao Shop Arrives on Clement Dim Sum Scene

Categories: Dim Sum, Palmer

Tamara Palmer
Xiao Long Bao Shop's namesake soup dumplings.
Xiao Long Bao Shop (635 Clement) is a new addition to the crowd of dim sum options on Clement Street in the Richmond District. It's strictly no-frills, with no profound whiff of newness outside of the "Grand Opening" banner outside. There are tables to sit and eat in, but you'll probably just want to pick up some snacks to go. Despite its name, though, xiao long bao (pork soup dumplings) are not the best item here -- they've got a nice, soft wrapper and clean-tasting pork, but very little liquid inside, so they're a little fraudulent. But they do amount to about 66 cents apiece!

See also: M.Y. China Has San Francisco's Most Expensive Dim Sum

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Take a Gander at the New Lucky Peach Guide to Dim Sum

Categories: Dim Sum

Over the weekend Buzzfeed published an online version of S.F.-based Lucky Peach magazine's new guide to dim sum, which appears in the latest issue (number 5) all about Chinatown. The online version is pretty damn comprehensive, with plenty of text and a complicated classification system involving phrases like "Chicken Buns: Leavened wheat dough wrapper family" and 16 symbols denoting everything from the preparation technique to whether it's likely to be spicy.

See also:
- M.Y. China: S.F.'s Most Expensive Dim Sum
- San Francisco's Top 10 Dim Sum Restaurants
- We Dare You to Watch This Video Without Getting Hungry for Chinese Food

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M.Y. China Has San Francisco's Most Expensive Dim Sum

Tamara Palmer
Pork and black truffle juicy dumplings at M.Y. China.
We live in a magical land called the Sunset, where delicious dim sum dumplings can be had for 50 cents apiece, so paying $18 for five dumplings is definitely a seismic shift. That's the price of the pork and black truffle juicy dumplings at M.Y. China (845 Market), which opened December 3 in the Westfield Centre.

See Also:
- This Holiday Season, Give The Gift of Dim Sum Earrings
- Wonderland's Red Oil Wonton Is a Carnivore's Must
- Two-Dolla Holla: Sticky Rice Balls at TC Pastry

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This Holiday Season, Give The Gift of Dim Sum Earrings

Chantal deFelice
Hang Ah Tea Room earrings.
All through December, SFoodie is bringing you local gift ideas for the food obsessives in your life.

The crafty site Etsy is a great place to go when you're looking for a creative present for your food-obsessed friend who has it all. A search for "San Francisco food" or "Bay Area food" turns up a lot of one-of-a-kind finds.

Case in point: These paper and wood earrings ($28) by Chantal deFelice depict the Hang Ah Tea Room, San Francisco's oldest Chinese restaurant, which opened in 1920.

See Also:
- Hog Island Oyster Co. Now Accepting Limited Holiday Mail Orders

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Wonderland's Szechuan Red Oil Wonton Is a Carnivore's Must

Tamara Palmer
Red oil wontons at Wonderland.
Wonderland opened in the Lower Haight in July, a welcome spot that fills a big void for Chinese food on Haight street. The menu is a spiral-bound miniature binder that, like many places of its ilk, contains a dizzying amount of choices, including a whole section devoted to meatless chicken and a sauce on the side "healthy" corner of steamed items. This is a vegetarian-friendly place for sure, but if you're eating meat, one appetizer worth ordering is the red oil wonton.

See Also:
- Shanghai Tries to Break a Restaurant Curse
- House of Nanking vs. Chef Jia's: Different Shades of Chinese American Cuisine

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Rice Paper Scissors Throws Dim Sum Warehouse Party

Phil Carter
Rice Paper Scissors' Katie Kwan and Valerie Luu.

Rice Paper Scissors Dim Sum Brunch

Where: Mission location revealed to ticket buyers on the day of event

When: Sunday, June 24, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2-5 p.m. seatings

Cost: $10 reservation ticket; menu items $5-8

Rundown: Katie Kwan and Valerie Luu typically focus on Vietnamese fare but this weekend they are busting out their little plastic stools for a warehouse party featuring an à la carte menu of small Vietnamese and Chinese plates. The former includes items such as pho cuon and pho cuon chay (beef or mushroom pho rolls), bap xao (butter-braised corn with dried shrimp), and xoi ga (claypot chicken with sticky rice), while the latter is repped by turnip cakes, Chinese long beans with housemade XO sauce, tea eggs, and salt and pepper prawns. Since the exact location is an old-school rave-style secret until Sunday, it's best to procure tickets in advance.

Buy tickets
via Eventbrite

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San Francisco's Top 10 Dim Sum Restaurants

Categories: Dim Sum, Top Ten

chive dumplings 550.jpg
W. Blake Gray
Pan-fried chive dumplings
​What better way to spend a weekend morning than over dim sum? Waitresses keep offering you tidbits of pork and shrimp, your endless pot of tea gets refilled without asking if you leave the lid up (there's a veteran tip), and at almost every place on this list, six people can eat until you're bored, full or both for less than $20 a person.

San Francisco ain't Hong Kong or Singapore, but for dim sum outside of Chinese-speaking metropoli, we've got it pretty good. A couple months ago SFoodie brought a wine writer from New York to one of our favorite places and he said, "Wow, we don't have dim sum like this," and not because we made him eat chicken feet. Though when you get to number 5 on this list, we strongly suggest that you do.

The best dim sum in San Francisco is not found in Chinatown. Instead, look north of Golden Gate Park, although top spots are found as far afield as Daly City. And a warning to vegetarians, as well as people persnickety about service: You'll be happiest at the places with the fewest Chinese diners. Because for the rest of us, the best way to find a new favorite dish is to not ask questions, but point at it and dig in.

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River Side Seafood Restaurant: Good Enough if You're Nearby

Categories: Dim Sum

pea sprout and white nuts in broth550.jpg
Photos by W. Blake Gray
Pea sprout & white nuts in broth
Whenever we hear of a dim sum restaurant -- heck, any restaurant -- that has people milling around outside waiting to get in, we're intrigued.

Such is the case on Sundays at River Side Seafood Restaurant. If you don't get there well before noon, you're going to wait, unless you're a party of two.

It's not a huge room: there are 14 round tables, three booths, and exactly one table for two. Not many couples go to dim sum, apparently, at least on the southern edge of the Sunset. So we waltzed right in, past at least half a dozen large groups.

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