new Things I Ate in Cambodia: Yank Sing: Get Over Yourself, It's Pretty Good

Monday, September 21, 2009

Yank Sing: Get Over Yourself, It's Pretty Good

Yank Sing
49 Stevenson St,
San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
(415) 541-4949

Yank Sing , like it or not, is San Francisco's most well known dim-sum house, gushed over in all the guidebooks and beloved by concierges and local hosts. It's the sort of place one takes tourists when you would like them to experience dim sum but not necessarily experience getting sweared at in Cantonese. The lovely Maria and Vreni, my hosts in Wil, Switzerland, were visiting the USA. Vreni's sister, our friend Judith, decided to take them to Yank Sing, and we tagged along.

Soup dumplings are delicious, and these were a good specimen of the type. I love the burst of meaty, fatty soup liquid that goes down your gullet when you bite into these little delights. It's hard to assess the quality of a dish that is such a pure sensory pleasure.

Sauteed green-beans with pork. These were merely okay. They are only REALLY good when served super-hot. And they are even better if they are long beans or snake beans.

Dumplings (gow)with minced snow pea shoots inside, one of my favorite Chinese greens. They supposedly have pine nut in em' as well, though I didn't taste any. They did remind me of the dumplings I used to enjoy in the morning in Beijing, which had delightfully peppery watercress inside.

Good old dumplings with minced shrimp and vegetables inside. I like the delicate wrappers used here.

One cannot have dim sum without egg-rolls with minced pork. These were okay. I don't like the saturated grease taste of fried food that's been hanging out a while.

Simply skewered scallop balls. These were decent, with a good fish-ball sort of taste. Could have been less rubbery.

Good ol' shaomai. These were quite good, and were nice and fresh. They can be pretty repellant if they are elderly or stick together too much.

Oh baby, chicken feet (fung zao, or hopefully named Phoenix Talons). You saw that article lately about how the Chinese are lusting after our enormous delicious chicken feet, right? Bata bing. Anyhow, Maria and Vreni had definitely never had a chicken foot before, and were somewhat grossed out when we began to eat them. (This is why you order chicken feet, at least in part: to gross people out). Maria, being a brave soul, decided she would try a toe. She proclaimed it edible. Guess they don't do much trade in chicken feet in Switzerland. These suckers really were good chicken feet. You just don't want to consider the bad ones. They had a nice sweet black bean flavor, and were tender and juicy.

We also tried some Peking duck - pretty good for dim-sum house Peking duck - and a few of the desserts. Mango tarts are tasty, but too darn sweet. I did enjoy the sweet fried sesame cake. I rather enjoy the different flavors of Chinese sweets at times. Especially anything with red bean paste up in there.

We ate at the Other Location, the little outlet on Stevenson Street. Parking is a bitch but there is an offsite location, so be prepared to shell out five dollars. It's usually quite busy, so reservations are advisable. The clientele is definitely not your standard dim sum house gang: think big families getting together and high-class Ladies Who Lunch. It is incredibly, incredibly quiet for a dim sum house. This can be good and bad. Sometimes we just want to get verbally abused in Cantonese.

Yank Sing often gets denigrated by those of us who consider ourselves hard core Chinese food eaters. But the truth is, the food really is good. It may not possess the rough-edged appeal of some of SF's more down n' dirty dim sum houses, but is it a more relaxing experience? Undoubtedly so. Let yourself go, Asia food snobs. Shut up and enjoy Yank Sing every once in a while. Entrails and 1000 year old egg jook will be there for you always and always. Our Swiss friends really enjoyed it, and we had a very pleasant meal.

No comments: