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dumpling time, san francisco.

If you're fond of beautifully fluffy bao, rows of gyoza and oodles of noodles, then Dumpling Time has probably been on your restaurant radar for a San Francisco food trip. From open faced siu mai to steamed har gow, these guys know their dumplings and they do them well. When we spent a week in the Californian city, I just knew this had to be on the ever-growing list.

The branding is cute and colourful, with a smiley dumpling for a logo that you would feel bad eating. If you've been on their Instagram, you'll have seen the brightly coloured flatlays of inviting dishes, all stacked up in bamboo baskets or on modern long plates. As you approach Dumpling Time, at night at least, you're met with an ultra-cool neon sign, as well as a most likely full restaurant. Whack your name on the list and their speedy but friendly service will see you seated as soon as possible. Plus, as you wait you get to watch the chefs at work on the fresh pastry.

On the menu was Shrimp & Pork Siu Mai (4pcs/$6), Seafood Gyoza (5pcs/$10), Pork Bao (3pcs/$6), Shrimp Toast ($9), Crispy Vegetable Spring Rolls ($5) and Shrimp & Cilantro Har Gow (4pcs/$6.50). The shrimp, cilantro and juicy pork dumplings (that's king prawn and coriander to us Brits) lived up to their Instagram fame, proudly sitting in their bamboo basket. The prawn toast was like nothing I'd had before, nearly living up to my favourite toast at The Basin in Leicestershire (sorry, Americans, your turn to visit us).

But by far my favourite was the Seafood Gyoza. They came attached, as in the photograph above, looking like the least gyoza-like dish I've ever ordered. Flip them over and you'll see the incredible spinach skin enveloping a mouthwatering mix of crab, scallop and shrimp with spiced chilli butter. If we weren't so full, I would have ordered more.

The Pork Bao was great too, with flavoursome pork, green onion, cabbage and nutty sesame seeds. As fluffy as you like, with a substantial amount of filling. Vegetarians will be pleased to know the rolls were delicious, packed with crunchy and fresh ingredients.

Overall, you can tell, we were real fans. As with some restaurants, especially when on holiday, you can scroll through Insta-worthy pictures only to be disappointed when you finally get there. Dumpling Time is not that. So if you've got a trip to San Fran planned, then make sure it's on your eating itinerary. If you already live there, well, I'm eternally jealous. Franchise in the UK soon, please?

Dumpling Time
11 Division St
San Francisco
CA 94103

1 comment:

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