A San Francisco food-centric bucket list for gourmets, gourmands and sourdough lovers

San Francisco’s gustatory reputation dates back to the birth of that rough-and-tumble city. Think Isidore Boudin’s Gold Rush-era sourdough loaves, Domenico Ghirardelli’s confections and Etienne Guittard’s French-style chocolate. North Beach. Chinatown. And Fisherman’s Wharf with its cioppino, chowder and steaming pots of fresh Dungeness crab.

You likely don’t even need us to tell you to try the Mission burritos of El Farolito (hello, super carne asada), the Irish coffees at The Buena Vista and pretty much anything at Greens, the legendary birthplace of high-end vegetarian fare.

But these five hot spots offer some of our favorite things.

1 Slurp the soup dumplings: Xiao long bao — XLB to dumpling devotees — have taken the Bay Area by storm in recent years, a movement accelerated by the opening of Shanghai giant Din Tai Fung in Santa Clara in 2016. Today, you can find these addictive Shanghai-style soup dumplings at eateries across the region — and at China Live, the towering, 20,000-square-foot gastronomic destination restaurateurs George Chen and his wife, Cindy Wong-Chen, opened in 2017. Go for the plump XLBs, filled with savory pork and scalding broth, of course. But be sure to check out all the other gastronomic attractions, too, from the exhibition kitchens and multiple restaurants to the tempting market. Pick up a jar of Chef Chen’s Famous Chili Crisp ($12) while you’re there. – Marin Independent Journal (11.15.22)