Kitchen Creations

Dim Sum in San Francisco

IMG_0468What is the appeal of eating small plates?..little intense tastes that tickle our taste buds, wet our appetites and leave us wanting more?  The French call them hors d’oeuvres, the Spanish call them tapas and the chinese call them dim sum.  Eaten with tea, the Cantonese tradition stems back to times when road weary travelers would stop along their journeys to take a little refreshment at various stops, each one having its one speciality.  Dim sum today is simply the dining tradition of eating small plates choosing what you like as it is prepared.

IMG_0456My husband’s and my most favorite place to eat dim sum is in San Francisco, California at the Ton Kiang restaurant on Geary Street.  Always a line waiting to get in, it is not only the taste sensations that draw you in but the community of dining in true Cantonese style.  With a steady stream of servers stopping by your table to offer you selections from the constant flow of dishes from the kitchen, it is a feeling akin to being a kid in the candy store – have as many as you like each one better then the next!

Here are a few of the dishes that caught our eye and ended in our stomachs on our recent trip there:

Steamed pork buns – soft, fluffy dough with cherry-sweetened pork, caramelized onions and peppers inside, top browned with a sweetened glaze…IMG_0452Steamed shrimp, vegetables, garlic and ginger dumplings in a noodle wrapping…delectably soft and slightly chewy…IMG_0461

Traditional steamed dumplings – pork, greens, ginger, garlic…so juicy and silky yet firm…IMG_0453

Steamed shrimp in a rice paper dough wrapping pleated to mimic the shape of a shell; pure fresh shrimp flavor with the slippery feel of rice starch…IMG_0460

Shrimp puree deep fried balls with crunchy slivers of cellophane rice noodles…wonderful shrimp flavor with a tickling sensation…


Quick stir-fried brocoli rabe with sesame oil and hoisin sauce…crunchy, savory and fresh…IMG_0455

Deep fried mochi balls; slightly sweet chewy-spongy rice dough with crunchy sesame seed coating….IMG_0457

And to finish our meal, flaky egg custard tarts – vanilla enriched, silky smooth – accompanied by more jasmine-flower scented green tea.  Yum.IMG_0464 IMG_0462



NOTE: steamed dim sum is not hard to do at home.  Purchase won ton wrappers or spring roll rice paper wrappers [these need to be soaked first] then wrap any goodie inside and steam until cooked through usually no longer than 5 minutes.  Shrimp, veggies, tofu, stone fruit…endless combinations.

For an interesting twist on mochi balls, my daughter turned me on to Traders Joe’s frozen mochi balls filled with ice cream!  A cool textural sensation!

2 thoughts on “Dim Sum in San Francisco”

  1. Hi Jane!

    I was amazed, but not really surprised, that you would got to Ton Kiang for dim sum. We go there every time we are in San Francisco. A long time ago, in the 90s when it was still being published Gourmet Magazine published a piece about dim sum and recommended Ton Kiang in SF. We went there and have been going ever since.

    Love, Walter



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