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Paul Qui, of Uchiko and Top Chef Texas, Hits Yank Sing

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From left, Jesse Herman, Deana Saukam, Paul Qui
From left, Jesse Herman, Deana Saukam, Paul Qui

I was craving dim sum for the last few weeks, and a bunch of people had recently recommended Yank Sing to me, so I decided it was time to go. My friend Paul Qui, who'll be competing in Top Chef Texas airing later this week, was in town from Austin for a wedding with his girlfriend. So we went over to the Rincon Center location for some dim sum. In case you don't know him, Paul is the James Beard Award-nominated executive chef of Austin's Uchiko, Tyson Cole's offshoot of Japanese institution Uchi. Paul is Filipino, and blends Southeast Asian ingredients seamlessly into modern Japanese cuisine. He also runs three food trucks in Austin called the East Side King. And I'm Jesse Herman, owner of La Condesa restaurants in Austin and now in St. Helena too. It being Chinese Food Week and all, we decided to jot down some notes on the best of dim sum at Yank Sing.

Yank Sing is fairly traditional, and has great dim sum. It's an efficient, friendly and bustling operation. The location may be a bit odd in the lobby of an office building, and it may be a little pricier than some Chinatown options, but that’s apparently no deterrent. It's usually packed.

1) Xiao long bao: I’ve had the traditional Shanghai soup dumpling at Nanxiang Mantou Dian in Shanghai where they were invented, and these stack up well against the original. I also think they’re as good as Joe’s Shanghai in NYC’s Chinatown. I’ve always had them with black rice vinegar, and Yank Sing serves them with red rice vinegar, which is kind of unique and it has a more distinctive flavor. Yank Sing’s are also notable for using kurobota pork. I count soup dumplings along with pizza and French fries as one of those foods worth burning your mouth on because they taste better when scalding hot.

2) Ha gau (pictured): The shrimp dumpling with bits of bamboo shoot was plump and fresh. I like to add the roasted chili with black bean. Yank Sing has their own version that you can buy and take home with you.

3) Siu mye (pictured)- The "basket" style dumpling filled with pork, shrimp and mushroom.

4) Steamed pork buns (pictured)- The classic steamed bun with BBQ pork filling has it easy. Almost anything stuffed with bbq pork is going to be worth eating.

5) Wor Tee: The classic potsticker with pork, ginger and chive. I recommend mixing soy and the chili to taste for the dipping sauce.

6) Peking duck: This is a cool touch at Yank Sing. You can basically order Peking duck a la carte by the slice. I’ve been to the famous Quanjude in Beijing and Yank Sing’s duck definitely stacks up. It's very good and they have a custom cart that rolls it out.
- Jesse Herman

Agree? Disagree? Share your Yank Sing dim sum favorites with the class in the comments.

Yank Sing

101 Spear St, San Francisco, CA 94105 415-957-9300 Visit Website

La Condesa

1320 Main Street, St Helena, CA 94574

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