49 Stevenson St (Near Ecker)
San Francisco, CA 94105
Best place for Dim Sum newbies plus the Best xiao long bao steamed dumpings in San Francisco?!?
Yank Sing Rincon Center
How does San Francisco’s famous Yank Sing compare to the world’s best Dim Sum restaurants or nearby Chinese Restaurants?
Since 1958, Yank Sing has been specializing in Chinese Dim Sum. Many folks have exclaimed that this is their favorite Chinese restaurant, so it was time to come back. Make reservations or be prepared to wait.
They now have 2 locations, both in the San Francisco Financial District. We visited the smaller Stevenson street location, situated in an alley just off 2nd street. This location has fewer items, but is known for rapid fire service. Yank Sing is known for quality dim sum with very nice service, at high prices.
Our last visit was in 2018 to the Rincon center location.
Be sure to read our Introduction to Chinese Dim Sum.
Yank Sing Decor, Vibe – Clean modern room that filled up rapidly after the doors opened. The Rincon center location is a lot bigger and nicer. On the weekends, they extend service into the courtyard. Even the bathrooms are clean.
Dim Sum Carts roaming the room all the time. The Stevenson location is small, the Spear street location is huge. Try to sit inside near the kitchen, so carts come to you first. We suggest coming early, as a late meal will cause you to encounter some items that have been sitting for a while. (Cold or lukewarm food)
75% of the folks were non Asians with a blend of families and tourists. Great to see non Asians eating Chinese food.
Yank Sing Menu
Website Yank Sing Menu – Incredibly high prices especially for things like Sesame balls that should be cheap. $2 per person for hot tea.
Pretty standard Chinese dim sum with some dishes you only see at dinner time at most Chinese restaurants. (Peking duck, sea bass) You do not see their salad at many Chinese spots.
Yank Sing Food Picks:
Seafood Basil dumplings (3 for $6.35) were topped with fish Roe in proved to be pretty solid.
Pork Stickers ($11.70 for 6) are a favorite and done well here. Very crispy bottoms. Many are on the carts going around.
Shrimp Rice Noodle Rolls ($9.45) were a solid version of the classic. Smaller shrimp that we expected. The BBQ pork version was also decent. Gluten free eaters can get it with a special soy sauce.
Deep Fried Pork Dumpling ($11.70 for 4) was pretty warm and full of meat filling. Greasy but well done. This is way too expensive, it should cost half this. Be sure to have them cut them in half.
Shanghai Kurobuta Pork Dumpling ($14 for 6) was pretty expensive, yet a dish everyone gets. They are constantly refilling the cart with fresh batches of these. Nicely done but somewhat bland soup inside along with a fairly thin wrapper. Their minced Kurobuta Pork has a strong unbalanced flavor to it. Surprisingly, this is one of the better versions in the San Francisco Bay Area and probably best in San Francisco. Din Tai Fung has some of the best ones in North America. #1 for us in is Din Tai Fung Taipei 101.
Stuffed Lotus Leaf ($6.35 for 1) with glutinous rice was pretty big and full of tasty pork, shrimp, and other goodies. A bit light on flavor. A nice dish to fill up cheaply on.
Chicken feet ($5.35) probably doesn’t get ordered very much here. We give them an E for effort. Decent, but not stellar.
Chinese Broccoli or Gai Lan ($7.15) was chilled, a bit of a shock to us. A must for vegetarians. Definitely ask them to omit the oyster sauce. Also another dish to fill up on.
Scallop Siu Mai ($5.95 for 3) Dumplings were good, probably better than the shrimp dumplings.
Sesame Ball ($11.70 for 4) was ridiculously expensive but fresh and hot out of the fryer. They should cost $3. In 2015, these were more dark beige in color. No gold sweetness inside! Good but not excellent.
Egg Custard Tart ($11.70 for 4) was expensive but a pretty good, and sweeter than usual dessert. These are supersized. Big pieces of flaky crust and delicious custard. Golden Gate Bakery on Grant Avenue has nothing to worry about.
Mango ice cream pie ($8.90) was surprisingly Very Good. Not Chinese, but if you like mango ice cream, save some room and order it.
Yank Sing Food OK:
Shrimp Dumplings ($7.15 for 4) was chock full of shrimp and had a nice thin wrapper. Pretty tiny. The shrimp were smashed together, and the quality of them was not very high. Not a lot of flavor. Have some at nearby Cityview instead.
Steamed Pork Buns ($5.35 for 2) were hot and filled with pork inside. Not as good as Hang Ah as the bun was to thick.
Honey Baked Seabass ($20.55) was a big chunk of well cooked fish normally served at dinner. Tasty but R&G Lounge does this far better. A nice dinner dish that many folks never get to try.
Peking duck ($6.95) by the slice is a cool little personal dish. The duck and bun were not that hot and flavors were average. They even left a piece of bone on the meat. A nice accessible dish for dim sum newbies. Beware that the peking duck was sitting around for a while in the cart.
Black Bean Spare Ribs ($5.35) had a minimal amount of black beans. (If any) Pretty greasy and average.
Honey Glazed Walnut salad ($11.70) was shuttled around the room and looked too fusiony. Just say no.
Service was better than almost all Chinese restaurants in the San Francisco Area (Except Hakkasan), with people patrolling all the time. It was pretty clear that they train the waiters and bus boys to be extra nice and polite. A Chinese restaurant with actual pleasant service? Keep in mind that the best restaurants in the Asia, like 3 Michelin star Lung King Heen in Hong Kong, all have top-notch service! Service is just not a priority here.
Yank Sing delivers a wide range of classic dim sum dishes as well as some items that normally are served at dinner time like the sea bass, Peking duck, or minced squab in lettuce cups. Be sure to not just order off the carts. Waiters can fetch steaming hot items for you too.
Clearly the prices are 2-3 times more than other places. Yank Sing is worth it if you like decent dim sum in a clean Western setting with lots of pleasant English speaking servers. It is no wonder that this place is so popular.
In 2018 we realized the food quality had improved from past visits. Price were still up a couple cents here and there.
Another place with service a couple notches lower, would be Cityview in San Francisco. We would rate the food quality below places on the Peninsula like Koi Palace, Asian Pearl Peninsula. The Steamed dumplings are an exception to this. If you like this restaurant, continue your food journey at one of these dim sum places.
Yank Sing Rincon Center
1 Rincon Center
101 Spear Street
San Francisco, CA 94105