Shanghainese in the Peninsula

I’m pretty picky about my Chinese food.  Regular Cantonese fare frankly bores me.  So lately I’ve been looking for more regional stuff.

I went to this place when they were in S.F. (I think they’re still around but with different owners).  So when I heard they had opened the “Shanghai Dumpling Shop” in Millbrae on Broadway, I decided to check it out.

It is clearly my favorite Chinese restaurant in the Bay Area right now.  The service is good, the specials are written in English on the wall (!) and most everything we’ve had is spectacular.  Here are some dishes we recommend.

“Braised Lions Head Meatballs” – This is dish is clearly the best thing they make (aside from the dumplings but more on that later).  You can see that the meatballs are made up of mostly a lean pork mixture which makes them moist and flavorful.  They’ve also chopped up mushrooms and waterchestnuts for added texture, flavor, and moisture.  And the flavor!  Man you can really taste the star anise and the cinnamon.  The perfect dish for colder evenings.  It’s just the best.

“Shao Long Bao” – What this place is known for.  They’re bamboo steamers filled with 12 little individual dumplings filled with pork and a mixture of other ingredients.  The key is to take a small bite, slurp out the “soup” inside (which is really just the broth and oil but oh-so delish!) and then dip the dumpling in the soy ginger dipping sauce.  Just heaven.  The filling is flavored so well and the “skin” is not too thick and gummy.

Other great dishes include the Shanghainese Chow Mein, Pea Sprouts w/Garlic, Braised Tofu, Spicy Pork Chop Noodle Soup, and many others.  I can’t wait to try the Braised Fish Tails!

The prices are great, there’s always parking, the service is good (for a Chinese restaurant), it’s clean, and the food is always reliably delicious.  It’s nothing less than superb.  Our bill for four people (including 4 dishes and 1 noodle soup) came to only around $42 w/o tip!  The only drawback is that they close at 9pm.  But other than that, it’s worth regular visits.  If you’re a fan of GOOD authentic Chinese food or like trying something new (this is no fried rice, egg roll, and chow mein place!), this place is a must!

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