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Good Luck Dim Sum

August 19, 2006

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Very often (perhaps more than we’d like to admit), Short Exact gets strong cravings for dim sum, but as much as we enjoy the ritual of sitting in a restaurant being surrounded by heavy dim sum cart traffic, sometimes we’d rather just bypass it all and cut to the chase. When that happens, we turn to Good Luck Dim Sum, a small storefront on Clement, in the inner Richmond, that serves up a decent selection of about three dozen dim sum dishes. (They also usually make items that are not on the menu, so if you have a favorite dim sum item that you don’t find on the menu, it’s worth it to ask if they have it anyway.) Good Luck is primarily a take-out joint, although you can also opt to enjoy your delectable choices at one of the tables in the back of the store.

The protocol here is easy: grab a pink sheet, circle what you want to order, and then just stand in line and wait. The most serious drawback to Good Luck Dim Sum is the line, which is actually, quite possibly, even slower than molasses. Even if the line doesn’t seem too long (say, 15-20 people), it can easily take half an hour or more to reach the ordering counter, especially on weekend mornings, during which time Good Luck is pretty consistently full.

On our most recent visit to Good Luck, we ordered the jian dui (sesame seed ball with red bean), along with an order of shrimp and chive dumplings:

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These dumplings were well-formed, and the wrapper had just the right lightness of texture. In the interior of the pouch, tender, fresh, perfectly-cooked shrimp are delightfully contrasted by the brighter flavor of the chive. The jian dui were filled with a smooth, creamy, slightly sweet red bean paste, and, all in all, were excellent. Though we didn’t order them this time, you can’t go wrong with their fun kor (dumpling with pork, peanut, and water chestnut), siu mai (pork dumpling), or the har gao (shrimp dumpling). Although there are some hit-or-miss items, Good Luck generally does a very good job with the standards.

What’s more, this is one of the cheapest dim sum joints in the city, which makes it a good place to experiment with some new dim sum items you might not be as familiar with. On most counts, Good Luck is consistently cheaper than its competitors. For example, the meal pictured above, which left us satisfied for several hours afterwards, set us back a mere $2.70. We’ve generally found that $3-4 of food per person is plenty for a satisfying meal. And, since the quality is also quite good, the quality-to-price ratio at Good Luck could very well be the highest in the city.

Is Good Luck Dim Sum San Francisco’s best dim sum restaurant? Well, no. Does it have the most perfectly-crafted dim sum, and the widest, most varied and eclectic selection? Again, no. But, if you’re looking for another place that combines the convenience of take-out with fresh, delicious dim sum at these inexpensive prices… well, we wish you good luck.

RATING:

COST:

736 Clement Street (between 8th Ave. and 9th Ave.)
San Francisco, CA 94118
Phone: 415.386.3388
Hours: Mon, Wed-Sun 7:00 am – 6:30 pm. Closed Tuesday.

Cuisine: Chinese/Dim Sum
Neighborhood: Inner Richmond

How to get there: Good Luck Dim Sum is directly served by Muni lines 2 and 4, and is within a few blocks of lines 1, 38, and 44. Additionally, it is 5-6 short blocks from the 28 line.

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4 comments

  1. Hmm, I plan to hit SF shortly with a friend who has never been. I need to find a good hole in the wall dim sum bar, so I’ll keep this on my tentative list.


  2. Nice! And even if you don’t go here exactly, Clement Street is definitely a great place for foodies to visit. It’s a bit of a trek from downtown, but well worth it.


  3. I love Good Luck Dim Sum. I looked for a menu on line, but couldn’t find it. I wonder if anyone knows what they call those fat, flattish, little dumplings in translucent skin, filled with greens, (I think bok choy and green onions)and a couple of pieces of shrimp? When I have gone to Good Luck Dim Sum, I just point out what I want, if I don’t recognize it on the menu, so don’t know the name. They are Fabulous! I don’t live in SF, so can’t go and look at the menu.
    Thanks.
    Thanks.


  4. I think the official name for the shrimp/chive dumpling is ga choy gow, but Good Luck’s menu also writes the various items in English, so it’s just listed as “shrimp and chive dumpling.”



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