People gather here for good and cheap dim sum. Cheap is a good thing here! Prices range from 3 for under $1.50 upwards to $2 a piece, depending on the type of dim sum. A party of 2 can easily get full for under $10, which is a great bargain, especially in this economy. Enjoy the char siu bao (steamed BBQ pork buns), pork siu mai, and fried sesame balls knowing you’re not spending too much money. Good luck, indeed!
You have been given fair warning: arrive early. Why? The dim sum is top notch. The dining room is gorgeous. With the koi pond in the middle of the restaurant, you feel as if you’re in an emperor’s home. Their dim sum menu includes teas, dumplings, and even congee – a rice porridge. Among the favorites are the chicken feet, suckling pig, and pork spare ribs. Who said you have to be in SF to enjoy good dim sum?
“Xiao Long Bao,” or XLB, is a pork dumpling originating from Shanghai, China. Because most dim sum restaurants are Cantonese, it is advised that one goes to a Shanghainese eatery to experience the best XLB. What makes XLB (aka “soup dumplings”) so special is the broth housed inside the steamed wrapper. Pick up the dumpling, being careful not to tear it, dip it in the pungent black vinegar, bite a little hole in the wrapper and either suck out the soup or let it drain onto a spoon. There are different methods of eating it, but the ending is the same: a very satisfied eater.
Ton Kiang in the Richmond District serves dim sum from 10:30am to 10:00pm everyday, so you can have your fill anytime. You can order off the menu or take a chance and grab a plate from the trays the servers bring to each table. Watch the kitchen door! A new dish comes out every few minutes. Superlatives: “nai wong siu ben” – egg custard rice cakes and “gao choy got” – shrimp and chive dumplings.
If you want upscale dim sum experience complete with the servers pushing carts, this is the place for you. Take your pick from over 50 selections available each day. It’s going to be hard to choose as each handmade dumpling and tender slice of Peking duck is flavorful and succulent. When you finally do see something you like, just point at what you want and you will be served a tasty dish that will whet your appetite for more.
Joanne Boston is a food blogger from San Francisco who is always on the lookout for great food. She loves hosting twEAT-ups with fellow foodies and enjoys learning about the restaurant scene in any city she visits. Catch her on her blog www.jobostonisafoodie.blogspot.com and on Twitter @joanneisafoodie.