Then I’ll give you some! 🙂
How would it be possible for me to not have one meal which would include Dim Sum while in Hong Kong? That would just not do! Not to mention my fellow foodies would never let me hear the end of it. Even though I have been Dim Sum-ed out over the years, I knew I had to try my hand at least one Dim Sum parlor during my short time in the city that comes up with the truly spectacular mini dishes.
We had our first Dim Sum lunch with my Mom’s older sister, who took us to a restaurant in a huge shopping mall. Do I remember what the place was called or even where it was near? Sadly I do not, but what do have are my glorious pictures to show you the delicious things we ate.
On the left, we have a vegetarian rice noodle roll. There was an assortment of vegetables in the rice noodles and although I prefer the meat variety, the rice noodle skin was superb. Soft, tender, smooth, and thin…mmmm. On the right are BBQ pork pineapple buns. They’re called pineapple buns because of the cracked sugary topping of the bread (or at least that’s how I’ve always associated it). The sweet and salty pork was perfect – little fat, glazed just enough, and tasted fresh (*gasp!*). Man…I don’t really recall ever having any type of pork bun tasting so delicious. And oh! The plate up at the top left is more of that delicious BBQ pork for the bowls of noodles below.
Going clockwise from the top left: “micro-pulled noodles” (x2) and “thin-pulled noodles”. These noodles were ordered upon Dad’s request for them, but when I tried each type, I wasn’t impressed. Thus, I moved on with my eating!
Top left: chiu-chow fun guo – my Dad’s favorite dim sum dish. I took a bite and found nothing special from the usual.
Next, the ma lai gou but in the rolled version (top right), which is A MILLION TIMES BETTER! We used to have this version of the traditional ma lai gou in San Diego, but for whatever reason (cost according to my Dad) they discontinued it. Even in the LA dim sum places we’ve been to, they don’t make it. Soft, moist, and the sweet custard between the rolled layers add another level of decadence that is not usually there.
The bottom plate is what I call: genius. Delicious genius to be exact. Cubed, pan-fried radish cakes, stir fried with onion, pepper, celery, and TONS of garlic. Add a dash of hot chili oil and we had a terrible time of stopping ourselves from gorging senselessly at this dish. By far, it was the most flavorful and unique dish we had that day. And hands down, my favorite at that table.
This was the Szechuan spicy wonton. Do not let the red color deceive you! This was hardly spicy, heck! It was actually SWEET! Much to my great disappointment. I was expecting to be taken to that endorphin-filled rush that one gets from eating foods so spicy that you’re sweating after one bite. Nope…instead, I got a really delicious and well crafted wonton that had a slightly sweet sauce with it. Sigh…
Ok…did this meal help change my mind on Dim Sum? Yes and no…because I know that I could never find something of this level in the states. I have friends and family who go wide and far for good Dim Sum, but they all have told me the same thing over and over again: nothing can compare to Dim Sum in Hong Kong. The true masters of the art of Dim Sum resides in Hong Kong. Whether it be in a fancy, sit-down, air-conditioned restaurant, to a side street vendor. The good stuff is overseas and I am glad I partake in this food journey to something I knew, yet knew nothing about.
I had less than 24 hours in one of my favorite cities in California and I wanted to do it well, but keeping it real and relaxed.
Since I was in Northern California for training up in San Jose, I decided to take the opportunity to spend the weekend up in the bay area. I checked out the San Jose scene…not much to write home about, but I was going to meet my cousin up in San Francisco.
My cousin had moved up to the bay for school, then got a job and stayed up there. I love San Francisco with my all and I have been up there a handful of times. However, the cold weather just is not my thing (as noted in my previous post). Still, the food up there is to melt for.
Anyways, I had texted my cousin ahead of time to let her know I would be spending the day up there and checked to see if she was free. She was and thus, I had found myself my partner in crime to just eat and enjoy San Francisco.
By the time I got to her apartment, it was around my now “lunching hour” (as a client had rightfully deemed it “SALT” – Standard Auditor’s Lunch Time).
Whenever I visit San Francisco, I have to make a trip the Tartine. After having their almond croissant the very first time, I have become addicted. Yet, since my first time at Tartine and first time having the said pastry, I have never been able to make it there in time to get one before they run out. And this time was no different. I was so sad…but I was still hungry!
My cousin and I split an order of the Spicy Turkey sandwich. Fresh country bread filled with LOADS of broccoli rabe pesto, holding down the peppered turkey breast and provolone, all press grilled to a crunchy excellence. The bread was delicious, but what really took me for a loop was the broccoli rabe. It was somewhat bitter and I had to keep my mind open about it as I am not a fan of bitter tasting foods. Generally, I think the provolone and olive oil helped mellow out the broccoli rabe and I did enjoy the sandwich!
I want to give a fair warning: if you have sensitive teeth and/or gums, probably best to stick with the pastries. The sandwiches are crunchy and toothsome. It takes a fair amount of work to bite and chew these sandwiches!
As I had mentioned earlier, I come to Tartine for their almond (or frangipane) croissant but have a hard time actually getting it! Must work harder to come at a decent hour (aka right when it opens)! Since there were no more almond croissants, I settled for a plain croissant. It was a wonderfully flakey, not overly buttery croissant. Perfecto!
My cousin got the “Morning Bun” which was a giant, cinnamon sugar, caramelized breakfast pastry decadence. Soft and sweet, it was pretty darn amazing. At first I thought it would be like either a cinnamon roll or a sugar donut. No! It was nothing like that and I can’t even begin to describe it. Why not just share one again with me? 🙂
After our lunch (with breakfast) meal at Tartine, we waddled ourselves down the block towards the park. However, we HAD to make a stop at Bi-Rite Creamery despite the fact that neither one of us had even finished our food and were carrying doggy bags. The motivation was that neither of us had ever tried the famous house-made ice cream and we both needed something chilled and creamy to wash everything down.
Unfortunately, I did not take a picture (WHY?! I can’t remember!) but I do remember what I got: honey lavender and balsamic strawberry. Of the 2, the balsamic strawberry won the best flavor hands down.
My cousin got the apricot sorbet and the brown butter pecan (?…can’t remember, sorry). I tried both and was surprised at how much I liked the sorbet. It was fresh and not overly sweet, but what got me was that I liked the tasted of it and I am not a fan of apricots. Go Bi-Rite!
With our filled stomachs, we rested it off at the park in the Mission and people watched. We are both golden retriever lovers so we were more dog watching and looking out for those golden cuties! The being gals, we did our fair amount of shopping in Union
Finally we had walked around long enough to not feel as full. That meant it was time for dinner!
Once again, I think it was just the haziness of the day of over eating and the fact that my brain was fried from work, I really cannot for the life of me remember the name of the restaurant we went to dinner. It was a place that I had asked my cousin to literally take me to eat where ever she wanted and loved the most while living in the city.
We ended up in a tiny little Chinese restaurant that was about 5 minutes (driving) away from her apartment. The restaurant specialized in Shanghaize style cooking, which was what she and I grew up with. Well…I grew up with both Shanghai (Dad’s side of the family) and Cantonese (Mom’s side of the family) style cooking, so I love both!
Big family style dinners happened a lot when we were younger, but the family has since dispersed a little and the generations are getting older. As such, we ordered dishes that brought us back to those days…
The spread. Honestly, I wish we could have ordered more, but we were both not exactly STARVING. Yet, how could I go to SF and only have one meal?!
So we had an order of the Xiao Long Bao. The skin was a little thick and could have been softer, but the soup remained intact within. Thus, a great flavorful explosion occurred in my mouth when I bit into these babies!
The Shanghai blood in us requires us to always have a noodle (or 2) dish!
The Shanghai Style Chow Mein was what I used to live off of! I would eat an entire, extra large order of this because I was a stupid child who would eat nothing else but noodles. Of course, I have significantly expanded my food selections since then. The noodles were good, yet the noodles were not as firm as I like them to be. However, there was a good amount of vegetables in it so definitely a thumbs up.
Next up was a simple soup noodle with pork and pickled vegetables.
This ended up being my favorite out of the 3 things we ordered. It was light, flavorful, and the noodles were cooked just right. Also, I have come to decide that the Chinese pickles food much better than Americans. It’s not as sour! Or maybe I was just imagining it?…
I ended up wanting this whole bowl to myself, but I always remember to share especially when all have agreed to it from the beginning. 🙂
Leaving feeling warm, full, and happy, I need to get the name of the place from my cousin or at least the address. What I do remember was that it was either on California St or Geary Blvd, and near Divisadero St. So if anyone recognizes the food or even the table settings, let me know!!
That was my day in San Francisco. Given that I had less than 24 hours in the city, I think I did it fairly well! Til next time bay area!
600 Guerrero Street
San Francisco, CA 9411
3692 18th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110