This is another blog post about dim sum. It’s a food that I am very familiar with because I grew up eating it and I continue to eat it to this day. I have had the pleasure of enjoying dim sum in Hong Kong, in Vancouver BC, in New York City, in Los Angeles, and of course San Francisco. My new favorite place for dim sum in San Francisco Chinatown is Lai Hong Lounge on Powell Street between Broadway and Vallejo Streets. The location holds a special place in my heart because it’s the neighborhood that I spent the first two years of my life before my family moved to Oakland. My family lived in an apartment directly across the street from Lai Hong Lounge.
My last visit to Lai Hong Lounge was with my mother, grandmother, and five year old niece. I think three or four is a good number of people for dim sum because items usually come in three or four. But with four people, you can afford to order a few extra dishes and get a better variety.
The most common items to order are the steamed shrimp dumplings (har gow) and steamed pork dumpling (sew mai). These are great for kids because they are very basic and not exotic in terms of flavor or ingredients. These were the first types of dim sum I ate as a kid. I know my niece liked them.
Popular at Lai Hong Lounge is the baked barbecue pork buns (cha siu bao). It uses the dough of a steamed bun, but has a nice sweetened crust on top.
My grandmother’s favorite dish is fried taro dumpling (woo gok). It’s crispy on the outside with a smooth taro and pork filling on the inside.
The general public might be grossed out by the steamed chicken feet (fung jow), but it’s one of my favorites. It’s very tender and flavored with black bean sauce. I was surprised that my niece was a fan. I know when I was five I wouldn’t touch it.
An item that my mother and grandmother ate was the beef tripe (ngau pak yip). To this day, I still won’t touch it.
We also ordered the turnip cakes (law bok gow). This is something my grandmother used to make during Chinese holidays. It is steamed and then pan fried to give it a golden color and crisp.
Another tasty dish we ordered was the rice rolls (cheung fun) with xo sauce (jeung). It’s a soft noodle with a spicy kick.
My mom wanted steamed custard buns (lai wong bai). It’s always good to end with something sweet, so these buns act as a desert.
I really like Lai Hong Lounge because the food is fresh and the prices are reasonable. I would definitely give dinner a try. Maybe have some Peking duck?