After my recent message about stinky tofu, i decided to try some of the places that you guys mentioned and the first and closest place to me, is shanghai noodles. Reading the sf weekly article and the messages from this board, i had the intention of going in there and having some really bad smelling tofu. As it turns out, it doesn't smell that bad compared to New Star. Taking a first look at the short but mind boggling menu, i decided to order the steamed stinky tofu instead of the "ma po" stinky tofu (which sounded really interesting but my companion never had stinky tofu before and she's not into spicy food). I other two other dish, the braised lion head and the shanghai rice cake (lien gao).
The first dish that came was the braised lions head. This dish consist of 4 fairly big meatball (lion head) and bak choy surrounding it. My first impression of the meat ball came from the sauce, it tasted very similar to hoi seen sauce that you would encounter at a pho place. But this sauce only wrapped the outside layer of the meat as a skin and the meat instead was very soft. A pretty good starting dish. Then a minute later, the shanghai rice cake and the stinky tofu came together. Quite frankly, i was surprised by the stinky tofu. The writer of the sf weekly said that they were able to smell the tofu far away, yet i could not smell the dish coming at all. With that notion aside, my chopsticks quickly went after the stinky tofu. My first notion was hows the smell. People always say, the stinkier the better. In this case, it didn't smell that bad and likewise for the plate, was just a simple steamed tofu dish with some bad smell and chili and soy sauce on top. As i broke the tofu in half, the smell got stronger but still not in comparison with New star. With that being the disappointment of the night, i went to the rice cakes for support. Unlike other shanghai places that i have had this dish, the rice cakes seemed to be on the saucy side. This made the rice cakes soft. This killed my joy of eating it because i always liked mines as chewy as possible. Aside from my opinion, my companion for the night thought the rice cakes were pretty good.
Overall, this is not a bad place to eat for a quick lunch or if you are in the area. The best dish that night was the lion head and then the rice cakes. The stinky tofu, my whole purpose of going, turned out to be a disappointment.