649 Jackson Street
San Francisco, CA 94133
Phone: (415) 986-2500
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-12 a.m., Sat.-Sun. 9 a.m.-12 a.m.
We headed to San Francisco for a trip, and decided that we couldn’t leave without heading to Chinatown for some dim sum. After some digging around, we headed to Great Eastern, on many lists as the best dim sum in the City.
The interior of Great Eastern is all white tablecloths, glitzy chandeliers, and gold lacquer. We were ushered to the quieter lower floor and presented with the dim sum menu to check off our choices.
We chose a variety of dim sum offerings, ranging from safe (steamed dumplings) to very adventurous (duck tongue), and settled back to see what the meal held in store for us.
Our most exotic item appeared first. The Soya Sauce Duck Tongue was… well, in a word, it was frightening. The more adventurous eaters in our group bravely dove in, despite the off-putting appearance of a stack of bird tongues on a plate. The most common description of this dish was “chewy” or “cartilagey.” Despite my best efforts, I didn’t make it past the first bite.
The rest of our dishes met with more universal approval. The Turnip Cakes were flavorful, loaded with pork and shrimp chunks. They were crisp and brown on the outside, and creamy in the center.
From there, we moved on to the Eggplant Stuffed with Shrimp Paste. This was a delicious dish with buttery, sauteed eggplant wrapped around tasty shrimp. These were a little tricky with chopsticks, but very tasty.
Next up were the Steamed Shanghai Dumplings. These delicate dumplings were served with a bright red, vinegary sauce. They were packed with flavor and totally mouth watering.
The Mushroom Pork and Shrimp Dumplings were beautiful, tender, and extremely tasty.
The Steamed Pork Buns were also a hit at our table, with the perfect puffy texture to the buns, and tangy, tender meat.
Although chicken feet are not my favorite, they are a dim sum staple, so we felt we would be remiss if we did not give them a try. The texture certainly isn’t for everyone, and they are definitely not the least messy dish to try, but the Steamed Chicken Claws at Great Eastern were tangy and tender.
Finally, the Cilantro Shrimp Dumplings were also tasty. The dumpling on this dish was less doughy and more akin to a spring roll wrapper. These were not as flavorful as the other dumplings we tried, but they were refreshing and tender.
Great Eastern is the perfect dim sum experience. The restaurant’s lively location, the exotic offerings, and the hand made and flavorful feel to each dish make this the perfect spot to sample dim sum if you ever head to the Bay Area.