What's not to love about a dumpling? They're little presents wrapped in dough. We dig dumplings of every stripe, from Northern Chinese lamb bundles to old-school dim sum classics. Here are 7 of our favorites in San Francisco:
? Shanghai Dumpling King in the Outer Richmond
The dumpling section of the King's menu has 24 (!) options, but our favorites are the pan-fried pork buns ($5.50 for 8). The wrapping is puffy on top, golden-crisp on the bottom, while the vinegary dipping sauce is the perfect counterpoint to a sweet, juicy filling.
? Z & Y Restaurant in Chinatown
Z & Y is a serious Sichuan gem in Chinatown, and these wontons with spicy peanut sauce ($5.95 for 6), filled with pork and buried in a slick of chile oil, prove why. The wrappers are tender, the filling well-seasoned, and the chile heat appropriately numbing. A scattering of crushed peanuts adds a welcome crunch on top.
? Old Mandarin Islamic in Parkside
If you haven't feasted at San Francisco's best halal Chinese restaurant, get yourself over to Parkside, stat. We love their West Lake Lamb Dumplings ($6.95 for 12), wrapped in a thick, hearty skin and filled with rich lamb meatballs.
? Yank Sing in Financial District
Yank Sing is the torchbearer of old-school, classy dim sum in San Francisco, and their xiao long bao ($12 for 6), while pricey, embody the Platonic ideal of soup dumplings. That means a thin and delicate wrapper, a savory pork filling and a gush of savory pork broth with every bite.
? Um Ma Son in the Outer Richmond
This under-the-radar Korean spot excels in flavorful home-style food, and their mul mhan du ($8.85 for 10) are no exception. The delicate dumplings are stuffed with pork and vegetables, then steamed to allow their fresh flavor to really shine.
? Amasia Hide's Sushi Bar in Duboce Triangle
We can't get enough of the steamed shrimp gyoza ($8.25 for 6) at this charming neighborhood sushi spot. The dumplings are fresh and tender, generously sized, and stuffed with sweet, snappy shrimp.
? Mama Ji's in the Castro
MaMa Ji's nails the perfect fried dumpling formula with these crispy potstickers ($3.75 for 3). The stretchy wrapper is fried crisp on one side and the pork filling is packed with meaty flavor.
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