I'm visiting SF for the first time with 2 friends and have a few questions.
1. DIM SUM
I am looking forward to eating dim sum more than anything else. Though I'd love to visit the Millbrae places, I'll only be in town 3 days and won't have time to go outside the city.
One of my companions is vegetarian and has never had dim sum, so I'd like to accommodate her with places that have a variety of good veggie offerings (dim sum preferably, but off the regular menu is ok). I'm very familiar with dim sum, and I value taste over atmosphere. I'm looking for good har gow, chow fun, beef tripe, egg custard or pineapple buns, and anything seafood.
We're students, so I'd like to keep the tab under $15/person. None of us speaks Chinese though I can identify dishes as long as I've seen them before. These are the possibilities I've found so far: Gold Mountain, Y. Ben House, Mayflower, Joy Luck, Yo Ho. Places that don't seem to fit my requirements are: Ton Kiang, Harbor Village, and Yank Sing.
I'm used to dim sum being served readily on weekends 11-3. I'm flying into Oakland on Sunday, and I'm not sure if I'll make it in time for dim sum. What are the general hours for dim sum on weekdays?
2. HONG KONG DESSERTS
I'm adventurous and am intrigued by SF's myriad of dessert places serving white fungus and snow frog fat (I read about it in SF Gate). Here, the offerings are limited to bubble tea and shaved ice w/ jellies, puddings, and fruit. I've seen Chowhound posts about Creations Dessert lately. Are there any other places you'd recommend? Which dessert should I try?
3. FOOD SOUVENIRS
I need advice on food to take home to my relatives. My mom has requested that I bring home sourdough bread and freeze it until the next time I see her. I looked at Boudin's website and did not realize there were so many types of sourdough. I'm thinking about stopping by Acme in the Ferry Building on my way out of town. Any recs as to what kind of bread I should get and where to get it?
I was also thinking about getting Scharfen Berger chocolate or XOX truffles.
We have plenty of Chinese and Vietnamese stores here, but I'm also open to recs on Asian foods that might be unique to SF.
I'd love your suggestions on anything in general except alcohol and seafood because I'd rather not deal with transporting them on a plane.