What You Should Order At A Dim Sum Restaurant

My understanding of the Chinese language consists of ordering dim sum and counting to number ninety-nine. I’ve never learned how to say one-hundred. But that’s okay, these two things are all I need to know.

Being a Chinese-American and from San Francisco, I’ve been eating dim sum all my life. Eating dim sum, or yum cha, is not just the act of consuming miniature-sized food. We talk, we eat, we share. It’s an event where family and friends get together to share an experience.

One of my pet peeves is sitting at a Chinese restaurant and watching people order the wrong things. No, walnut prawns is not a dim sum dish. Stop ordering that during dim sum. It’s deep fried and soaked in mayo and that’s just a terrible thing to eat for a meal that’s supposed to be breakfast. So, I’m writing this post to share with you what I enjoy eating during at a dim sum restaurant.

Here are some Dim Sum classics:

  1. Cherng Fun with Beef – My dim sum experience isn’t complete until I have this dish. Soft thin sheets of rice noodles are wrapped around really tender ground beef and topped with a light, sweet soy sauce.
    Yank Sing Cherng Fun
  2. Siu Mai (or Shumai – Pork Dumplings) – If you look around at all the tables with Chinese people, you’ll find this on every table. It’s a classic dim sum dish. Think of it like a pork and mushroom meatball wrapped in a won ton wrapper. Not my top choice of dim sum dishes at most restaurants, but I will almost always get it at Yank Sing. It’s super good there.
    Yank Sing Shumai
  3. Har Gow (Shrimp Dumpligs) – Like Siu Mai, this is another classic dish. This shrimp dumpling is wrapped with a translucent, chewy wrapper made from tapioca powder. Dunk these in hot sauce and you’re golden.
    Yank Sing Har Gow
  4. Lo Bak Goh (Turnip Cake) – I love this stuff! Similar to potato pancakes, these are made with rice flour and sliced turnips. Soft and gooey on the inside and crispy on the outside.
  5. Lo Mai Gai (Sticky Rice) – Wrapped in banana leaves, these soft, sticky rice balls are filled with mushrooms, Chinese sausage and pork. If you’re not full from the little dumplings, order this dish. It’ll fill you up.
    dim sum wikipedia

If you’re adventurous…

  1. Fung Jow (Chicken Feet) – I know, the thought of eating chicken feet is just disgusting, but trust me, it’s good. These little brown feet are deep fried then braised in a sweet, ginger sauce.
  2. Ngau Tou (Steamed Tripe) – Don’t confuse this with the brown sponge-like tripe. These thin strips of white tripe are crunchy in texture. The tripe itself is tasteless, but it’s steamed in a light ginger broth.

If you’re not adventurous at all…

  1. Guk Bao (Baked Char Siu Bao) – This barbecue pork bun is baked golden brown with a sweet glaze on top. From experience, all children love these.

For dessert…

  1. Jin Deui (Sesame Balls) – Sesame balls are chewy, crispy balls made from glutinous rice flour tolled in sesame seeds and filled with lotus bean paste. The best ones I’ve ever had are from Yank Sing Restaurant in San Francisco. Trick is to ask for fresh ones so that they’re still warm and soft from the oven.
    Yank Sing Jin Dui
  2. Mango Pudding – I could eat mango pudding all day. The best kinds are rich, creamy and loaded with chunks of mangoes.
  3. Dan Tat (Egg Tart) – Egg Tarts are like mini egg custard pies. Light, crispy crust filled with a silky smooth egg custard. So good!

So, there’s my list of favorite dim sum dishes. Also, everything tastes better with hot sauce. My favorite is the chili sauce from Yank Sing. I usually unload a whole bottle in one sitting!

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Curbside Coffee – San Francisco

Curbside Coffee Truck

Rated: ♣♣♣♣♣

Wow, this place is dangerous. I discovered Curbside Coffee at the end of last week and I’ve already been back 4 times.

This little coffee truck on the corner of Spear and Folsom makes the BEST Vietnamese coffee I’ve ever had. I used to make Vietnamese coffee, and it never tasted this good. When I go out for pho, I usually order a Vietnamese coffee or a Thai Iced Tea, and they always taste the same. I did not realized how amazing Vietnamese coffee could taste until I took my first sip at Curbside Coffee. It blew my mind. It has the perfect balance of the strong coffee flavor, creamy condensed milk and sweet simple syrup. So good, I already have plans with my marketing team to get some later today!

Curbside Vietnamese Coffee

To top it off, their staff is very friendly. One visit, I came by and promised them I would be back a half hour later with a few other people. And, they made an extra batch of the coffee just for us! We were even able to try their morning bun and a bran muffin. My coworker snatched the morning bun before I got to try, but I really enjoyed the bran muffin. Moist, soft and slightly sweet. It was a tasty afternoon snack without the guilt.

Curbside Bran Muffin

I can’t wait to come back!

Curbside Coffee
Spear & Folsom
San Francisco, CA 94105
Neighborhood: SOMA

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Outerlands – San Francisco

Outerlands Lunch

On a sunny summer day in San Francisco, what’s more perfect than brunch by the beach? I can tell you, not much. I first heard about Outerlands from my good friend Tye who heard about this place through her boyfriend who is friends with friends of the owner. And boy, I’m so glad I received the tip!

Outerlands has an uber hipster vibe. I’ve been told the hipster crowd is slowly migrating over to the Outer Sunset, and by the looks of this restaurant and its clientele, I would say that’s accurate.

When the menu hit the table, my eyes were drawn to the fried egg and bacon open-faced sandwich. It was so delicious! A thick and chewy slice of sourdough topped with crispy bacon, cheese, and two over-easy eggs. I popped my eggs immediately so that the yolk dripped into the crevices of the bread like a thick and creamy sauce. Oh so good.

Outerlands Fried Egg Bacon Sandwich

After our sandwiches, we nibbled on their homemade soft-chew caramels and sipped on some Sightglass Coffee which they served in a neat looking carafe. The caramels was such sweet buttery goodness, good thing I only had one otherwise I wouldn’t be able to control myself.

Outerlands Caramels

Outerlands Sightglass Coffee

I can’t wait to come back to Outerlands to try more. Everyone around our table seemed to be ordering the grilled cheese sandwich that is pan fried in butter with a side of soup. Seems like the perfect brunch this July 4th weekend!

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The most delicious cinnamon bread ever at Greenlee’s Bakery

Rated: ♣♣♣♣♣

I was wandering through the isles at the downtown SF Costco on Friday when my nose caught the aroma of a sweet, cinnamon-y baked good. I looked down and found this cute little loaf of cinnamon bread from a local shop out of San Jose called Greenlee’s Bakery. Little did I know this little loaf will be the best dang cinnamon bread I’ve ever had. Sticky. Sweet. Gooey in the cracks. I’ve been eating this sinful goodness every morning this past week and it’s so hard to force myself to only eat one slice at a time. (Each slice is 200 calories!) Toast up this baby each morning and your entire house will smell like you’ve just made it from scratch. This weekend, I’m totally going back to pick up a few more loaves!

If you don’t live in the Bay Area, you can buy a loaf online for $7! Trust me it’s worth it.

Greenlee’s Bakery
1081 The Alameda
San Jose, CA 95126
(408) 287-4191

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Foreign Cinema – San Francisco

Foreign Cinema Storefront

Rated: ♣♣♣♣

I’m a big fan of brunch. If I could wake up and get ready early on weekends, I’d go more often. A few friends came to the city to visit one Saturday, so we took them out to Foreign Cinema for their amazing brunch. You can probably guess by the name, but this restaurant is famous for showing foreign (or classic) films in the evening while patrons enjoy their meals. They have a beautiful outdoor seating area where they project the movie on the side of a building. Unfortunately, I came during the day, so they didn’t have any movies playing. Check out their film calendar here.

Our group went all out when we ordered. Everyone recommended the pop tarts, so we had to order that. And since they had 2 flavors (strawberry and kumquat), we had to order both. To be honest, although they were pretty good, they were still only pop tarts. Now, if it was frosted, that would take it to a whole ‘nother level.

Foreign Cinema Pop Tart

Between 4 people, we also shared a dozen fresh Hog Island Sweetwater oysters. As usual, pure deliciousness.

Foreign Cinema Hog Island Oysters

For my entrée, I devoured the Chile Verde Baked Eggs with Berkshire pork, avocado, chickpeas and tortilla chips. What a great combination of textures and flavors! The fluffiness of the baked eggs mixed with the creaminess of the avocado and chickpeas and the crispiness of the chips were a perfect match.

Foreign Cinema Verde Baked Eggs

K ordered the Balsamic Fried Eggs with Garlic-Potato Hash and Prosciutto. This too was a home run. Crunchy eggs, sweet balsamic vinegar reduction, salty prosciutto. Yum!

Foreign Cinema Fried Eggs with Procsiutto

I’d love to come back to Foreign Cinema during dinner. This is a perfect date place. Apparently, they have some amazing fried chicken which has been listed in 7×7’s 2011 – 100 Things to Try Before You Die list.

Check out more pics.

Foreign Cinema Interior

Foreign Cinema Lemonade

Foreign Cinema Coffee

Foreign Cinema
2534 Mission St
(between 21st St & 22nd St)
San Francisco, CA 94110
Neighborhood: Mission

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