The Food Chain

Sang Yoon Goes to San Francisco for Dumplings

Photo: Adam Martin

Each week on the Food Chain, we ask a chef to describe a dish he or she recently enjoyed. The chef who prepared the dish responds, and then picks their own. On and on it goes. Last week, Ruggero Gadaldi and Sang Yoon discussed the Office Burger at Father’s Office in Los Angeles. Your pick, Yoon!

What: Shanghai Soup Dumplings
Where: Yank Sing, San Francisco

“Every time I go to San Francisco I go straight to these Shanghai soup dumplings. They are my favorite thing in the world to eat. In fact, I go to San Francisco frequently just to have them, and turn right around and fly back to L.A. Really! They are unequaled. I’ve never had better dim sum. They execute them perfectly: the flavors are deeper, richer, more onion-y, with more pork taste. I really appreciate how labor-intensive they are. They’re so tiny, so delicate, so little — really amuse-sized, and the dough is incredibly thin, and all with an amazing perfume to them. You poke a hole in the top, put in a slit of ginger, cover it in vinegar and ‘MMmmm!’ I can eat about 50 of them, which makes everyone there laugh. I eat there more than I do anywhere in L.A.”

Owner Vera Chan-Waller responds:

“I don’t know how to say this without sounding cliché, but it’s really an honor to have one of our peers complimenting us on our Shanghai dumplings. I give credit to our kitchen. There are people who specialize in one area. For example, the skin — they can feel the skin and know if it’s the right thickness or not. The key with the skin is to make it elastic enough so that when people pick it up, even though it’s thin and you can see the soup swirling inside, it doesn’t break. We want to make sure people don’t eat them with forks. We don’t just use regular pork, we use Kurobuta [Berkshire]; it’s like the Kobe beef of pork. We’ve got spring onions. The white part is more flavorful, so we only use that part of the onion for the Shanghai dumpling. The ginger we grind every day because if we leave that overnight the flavors won’t be as intense.”

Sang Yoon Goes to San Francisco for Dumplings