Jiu cai bao – Clement Restaurant

Jiu cai bao Clement Restaurant
These Chinese chive dumplings are first steamed, then pan-fried. They are usually filled with a mixture of chives, shrimp, water chestnut, and often pork.  The wrapper is made from wheat starch.
Clement Restaurant, San Francisco

I love the nice, crispy texture created from pan-frying these delicious dumplings.  Depending on the ratio of chives in the filling, these can sometimes have an intense taste.  The chive flavor in Clement Restuarant’s jiu cai bao was on the mellow side.  Simply delicious!

Egg custard tarts – Clement Restaurant

Egg custard tarts Clement Restaurant
Baked in puff pastry, these “dan tat” are filled with a light egg custard.  Unlike Western custard tarts, milk isn’t normally added to the custard.
Clement Restaurant, San Francisco

Everyone in San Francisco always boasts about the egg tarts at Golden Gate Bakery in Chinatown.  Sadly, I have yet to taste one, but I’m confident I will do so soon!  Clement Restaurant’s egg tarts were light and the custard was silky.  Pretty good if you ask me.  If the tarts at Golden Gate Bakery are THAT much better, then I’m in for a treat!

Chiu chao fun guo – Clement Restaurant

Chiu chao fun guo Clement Restaurant
Steamed dumplings filled with ground pork, shrimp, chopped peanuts, and garlic chives.  The wrapper is made of de-glutenized wheat flour, tapioca flour, and a corn or potato starch.
Clement Restaurant, San Francisco

I wasn’t a fan of these dumplings.  They were quite large and the wrapper was too thick, glutinous, and easily torn.  It’s always sad when you lose the dumpling filling because of a weak wrapper.  This dim sum was weak, indeed!

Shark fin dumplings – Clement Restaurant

Shark fin dumplings Clement Restaurant
Lye water dough (shiu mai wrapper) filled with a mixture of chopped shrimp, pork fillet, shark fin, spring onion and Chinese parsley. The dumplings are then steamed.
Clement Restaurant, San Francisco

So California Assembly Bill 376 would ban the possession, sale, and trade of shark fins in the state of California.  It’s suppose to be heard before the Senate Committee on Appropriations on Monday, August 15th in Sacramento.  We’ll see what happens!  I have to admit that I’ve never wondered if I’m eating real shark fin in dim sum.  For some reason, I always assumed it was imitation shark fin.  I know that’s ignorant of me, so I’m curious to see what happens with AB 376.  I definitely don’t agree with the practice of shark finning, but would this bill also ban shark fins that were harvested without finning?  My assumption would be YES, but I’ll have to read more about the debate. 

Regardless, I don’t know if I can even distinguish the shark fin flavor or texture in these dumplings from any other similar dumplings.  In that regard, I probably wouldn’t be affected by the shark fin ban but opponents of the bill cite cultural reasons.  Sounds fishy to me (pardon the pun)!

Pork shiu mai – Clement Restaurant

Pork shiu mai Clement Restaurant
Steamed dumplings with seasoned ground pork, chopped shrimp and Chinese black mushroom wrapped with a thin sheet of lye water dough.
Clement Restaurant, San Francisco

These suckers were large compared to other shumai I’ve had! I’m not sure why I always order siu mai though. They don’t have much flavor compared to other dim sum and the filling tends to be really fatty.  But they do soak up soy and chili XO sauce really well and I enjoy the combination of the filling and dough textures. Since dim sum tends to be really cheap on Clement Street in San Francisco I think I’ll keep ordering them, lol!

Cha siu bao – Clement Restaurant

Steamed bbq pork bun Clement Restaurant
Bbq pork bun. Cantonese steamed bun filled with slow roasted pork tenderloin in a salty sweet, bbq sauce mixture.
Clement Restaurant, San Francisco

I love dim sum, and I love bbq pork buns whether steamed or baked!  I didn’t know they use different doughs depending on whether they are steamed or fried, but it makes sense.  The filling is always SO good! The bbq bun from Clement Restaurant had the thickest bun I’ve ever tried, and I admit that I wasn’t a fan.  For me, the bun is there to hold the delicious filling together and there was just too much of it here.

* Also spelled “char siu bao” among others.