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shanghai bun, matawan nj // gross ANY decent dumpling places in Central Jersey?

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nyebaby37 Jan 20, 2007 05:31 PM

went for soup noodle dumplings -- these are OK not great. place is gross, really dirty and staff is nasty. doesnt bother me to eat on styrofoam, it is a small joint but it does bother me to see a unkempt restaurant // i can only imagine what the kitchen looks like! ugh. any soup noodle / dumplings places you'd chow @ in the central jersey area?

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  1. r
    RGR RE: nyebaby37 Jan 20, 2007 07:07 PM

    As I've said before on this board, I've crossed Shanghai Bun off my list. I didn't find it dirty, but the buns were just o.k., and I don't like eating off styrofoam and with plastic utensils. Plus, there was virtually no heat on a cold winter's afternoon, which meant I had to keep my jacket on.

    I recommend you try Shanghai Park, on Raritan Av., in Highland Park. Excellent buns! Service is pleasant and efficient. Not a hole-in-the-wall like Shanghai Bun, though not fancy. It's clean, with comfortable seating (including booths), and real plates and silverware.

    3 Replies
    1. re: RGR
      j
      jsfein RE: RGR Jan 20, 2007 07:21 PM

      I had the soup buns at both Shanghai Bun and Shangai Park recently in the same week. I preferred the ones at Shanghai Bun, despite the dingy atmosphere and sort of cold reception from the woman behind the counter. The Shanghai Park soup buns were good, but the bamboo in which it was served was so worn that the bamboo/straw was breaking apart from the serving platter, sticking to the buns, and opening the buns such that the soup was escaping out before I could get the buns on my spoon. I'd gladly return to either for more, however.

      1. re: jsfein
        r
        RGR RE: jsfein Jan 20, 2007 08:47 PM

        We haven't been to Shanghai Park in quite some time. We didn't have the problem you describe but, frankly, it's inexcusable. Certainly not something that should be glossed over. After all, if the soup is leaking out before you get a chance to get it on your spoon, it defeats the whole idea. You should have sent them back with a request that they be served on bamboo that did not break open the buns.

        1. re: RGR
          Marcharlan RE: RGR Jan 24, 2007 12:51 PM

          Shanghi Park is the better of the two in my opinion, but alas the owners have not invested in capital improvements over the years. That is to say, it is clean and neat but getting a little worn. It could be that they have invested their new funds in their Princeton place.

    2. p
      piney RE: nyebaby37 Jan 21, 2007 04:13 PM

      ~2 years ago, i was surprised that no one was writing about this generic-looking chinese take out restaurant on chowhound, so i made a small post (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/187199).

      i tried to concentrate on writing only about the hand-make noodles, and, in particular, the best dishes they made with the hand-make noodles. 2 years later, i rarely find hand-make noodles in nj. delicious hand-make noodle meals are the reason to go to shanghai bun. in the ensuing 2 years, i can add that this is the most conistent restaurant for food preparation that i have ever eaten in, at least as far as the hand-make noodle dishes. it is a one-trick pony, but, a great trick.

      i didn't write about the soup dumplings because Shanghai Park in edison is the nj benchmark and had been extensively praised in newspapers and on chowhound. in fact, SP can hold its own against nyc's c-town soup dumpling makers. although anyone with enough training could probably make a shanghai soup dumpling, the only thing shanghai about shanghai bun is its name.

      for those new to shanghai bun, believe it or not, the place was remodeled about a year ago, the main improvemnent being better tables. the original brownish tiles on the floor are not too stylish, but, the tables are always clean when i am there (at non-peak times). the main decoration is still the giant thermos. at least from the view of the counter, the kitchen area looks ok.

      i agree the new worker, who literaly hides behind the counter on a low stool so it looks like no one is even there, is not friendly like the woman who seemed like mgr/owner. her behavior is no where near meal-wrecking surliness.

      probably not what they intended, but i like eating a hot soup in a chilly atmosphere. the new worker behind the counter was wearing her coat on thursday night to ward off the chill.

      for most people, this is not a restaurant for a special anniversary, mega job promotion, or 1st date, but, it is a restaurant that fully meets the chowhound standard that was given voice by Leff in the Chowhound Manifesto:

      "...Chowhounds blaze trails. They comb through neighborhoods for culinary treasure. They despise hype. And while they appreciate ambiance and service, they can't be fooled by flash...."

      there are as many little chinese takes out joints in nj as there are mcdonalds. find me one that makes better hand-make noodle soups and hand-make noodle dishes than shanghai bun.

      5 Replies
      1. re: piney
        val ann c RE: piney Jan 24, 2007 10:54 AM

        piney, I agree about the hand-made noodles. That's why we go to Shanghai Bun. My mainstays are the noodle soup with pork and pickled radish, or the noodle soup with pork and sour cabbage. It's very comforting how each noodle is a slightly different shape.

        Also in Aberdeen, I like West Lake, which is about 1 mile south of Shanghai Bun, on RT 34. IMHO West Lake is the best choice for dim sum in northern Monmouth, although I'm sure you can get better in the Edison area. I like West Lakes's food enough to brave the chilly impatient manager and the brusque wait-staff.

        1. re: val ann c
          j
          jsfein RE: val ann c Jan 24, 2007 11:39 AM

          Val

          Is West Lake's Dim Sum cart service or order off a menu? Weekends only?

          Have you been to Dim Sum at Crown Palace in Marlboro? How does it compare to West Lake? I really enjoy Crown Palace's Dim Sum and go pretty regularly, but wouldn't mind giving West Lake a try.

          1. re: jsfein
            val ann c RE: jsfein Jan 24, 2007 12:00 PM

            jsfein,
            I have never been to Crown Palace in Marlboro. I've been to Crown Palace in Middletown and Sunny in East Brunswick, a couple of visits for each. Neither one impresses me.
            West Lake has cart service and menu. I belieive it is weekends only, but you should call to be sure. Here is a link to some West Lake food photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wmliu/34...

            1. re: val ann c
              j
              jsfein RE: val ann c Jan 29, 2007 06:38 AM

              Made it to West Lake for dim sum yesterday. It was okay. My family was the only non-Asians during our visit which is usually a good sign. The dim sum is served by cart service only. There was a printed dim sum menu on the table, but you couldn't order off of it as far as I could tell. The food itself was pretty good, but many of the dishes were at room temperature and should have been served hotter. It was also impossible to get our water glasses refilled. Not a bad experience, but I prefer Crown Palace. I am interested in returning to West Lake to sample their regular menu. I saw a few dishes from the kitchen going to other tables that looked interesting.

              1. re: jsfein
                n
                nyebaby37 RE: jsfein Jan 29, 2007 07:14 AM

                which CP do u visit? cant wait to get there.

      2. t
        taste test RE: nyebaby37 Jan 21, 2007 08:14 PM

        I agree that the handmade noodles are the reason to go to Shanghai Bun but I also struggle with the gross out factor of an unclean restaurant. I've sworn this place off several times only to go back when a noodle craving hits. I'm surprised that people like the soup dumplings. I find them pretty leaden compared to Shanghai Park and Grand Shanghai. Grand Shanghai (on Route 1 in the Edison area) is my overall favorite for soup dumplings, noodle soups (although not handmade) and weekend Shanghai style breakfast dishes.

        1. n
          nyebaby37 RE: nyebaby37 Jan 24, 2007 11:55 AM

          ummm crowne palace

          1. j
            jsfein RE: nyebaby37 Jan 24, 2007 12:28 PM

            Thanks for linking those photos. Food looks great. West Lake is definitely moving up on my list of places to try.

            1. j
              jsfein RE: nyebaby37 Jan 29, 2007 07:45 AM

              Marlboro. If you go, try to arrive a little before noon. After noon, the parking lot is packed.

              1. seal RE: nyebaby37 Jan 29, 2007 10:35 AM

                I posted about West Lake many moons ago here and stand by my assessment that they are one of the most authentic chinese eateries in the area. The fact that most of my chinese friends agree aside, do try their regular menu.

                I think they make hot pot/casseroles as good as anyone, esp. the one with the beef and turnips. Also tops is their pork chop w/ salt and pepper and any of the whole fresh fish dishes.

                1. f
                  FoodDude2 RE: nyebaby37 Feb 10, 2007 05:14 AM

                  Ate at Shanghai Bun two nights ago. First time there but they definitly redecorated the inside as it looks very nice and clean now. I went with my brother and mom and as we stepped in we knew it would be delicious as it was packed at 6:30 and we were the only non-asians in the place. We ordered the Shanhai Wonton soup, the Spicy Beef noodle soup, Mixed Seafood in chili oil with noodles soup and as a entree, the Beef and Mushrooms with gravy and noodles.

                  We didn't realize just how big the bowls of soup were but they are HUGE. For 3 people you really only need 1 or 2 at most if you plan on ordering anything else. I personally didn't really care for the Wonton soup as I found the broth to be a bit bland and seaweedy but the other 2 were delicious. I'd steer clear of the seafood soup if you are not a big seafood fan as it could be a bit "fishy" but it is nice and spicy. The noodles themself were outstanding. The Spicy beef and noodle soup was, in my opinion the best of the 3 as I loved everythign in it. The best dish overall though was the entree. The gravy was delicious as were the beef and mushrooms and the sauce was very tasty. Also enjoyed the roasted peanuts that start off the meal.

                  For those who venture there, do not be put off by the styrofoam bowls as it is a nice and easy way to serve patrons large portions that they can share. Also, the girl behind the counter isn't very fluent with her english but she tries.

                  Next time I will certainly try the pork buns as I saw 1 lady eating them and they looked great.

                  1. f
                    FoodDude2 RE: nyebaby37 Feb 10, 2007 05:15 AM

                    Also, anyone who goes to Crown Palace in Marlboro for regular dinner, try the black peppercorn shrimp entree and the crabs and black bean sauce. Both are fantastic as is the hot and sour soup. Very dark and tasty.

                    1. bgut1 RE: nyebaby37 Feb 24, 2007 02:24 PM

                      I tried West Lake this afternoon for dim sum. My assessment is similar to jsfein. Quite good but still a notch below Wonder Seafood and Sunny Palace in terms of selection. However, I found the place much more "comfortable" and accomodating than Wonder where I felt quite the outsider. I want to come back and try the regular menu (I was eyeing those dungeness crabs in the tank). Thanks for the recommendation.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: bgut1
                        r
                        RGR RE: bgut1 Feb 24, 2007 04:06 PM

                        bgut1, Since I was forced to miss last week's Chowhound dim sum gathering at West Lake :-( , I'm considering going there tomorrow with my husband. What time did you go there? Did you have a reservation? If not, was there a wait for a table? Do you think going later in the afternoon means not getting as good a selection as you would if you go earlier? I recall hearing that about places in NYC's Chinatown.

                        1. re: RGR
                          bgut1 RE: RGR Feb 24, 2007 05:45 PM

                          Hello RGR - I live down in southern monmouth so I usually don't get a chance to go up to Matawan. I had an errand to run with my boys up in Woodbridge so I decided to stop on my way up the GSP. We got there around 1:30 PM to find the place about 3/4's full. So obviously no reservation nor wait. I would think you would have an easier time on Sunday. As far as selection, it seemed that they had everything they usually do. They have three carts: a dim sum cart with usual buns and meats (meatballs and spareribs), what looked to be a soup/congee cart, and a dessert cart with a very good tofu pudding and various sweet buns and custard cups. While not the best dim sum I've ever had, it was quite good and my kids enjoyed themselves immensely. You should have a great time. Please let us know how it went.

                          1. re: bgut1
                            r
                            RGR RE: bgut1 Feb 24, 2007 06:37 PM

                            bgut1, Thanks! This is very helpful. If we go, I will report back.

                      2. r
                        RGR RE: nyebaby37 Mar 3, 2007 02:54 PM

                        First the good news. We finally made it to West Lake for dim sum today. Now, the bad news. As first time dim sum-ers, we were really dumb! We didn't go until 2:30. The place was virtually empty. Just one very large group of Chinese patrons finishing up and the staff getting ready to sit down to their afternoon meal.

                        Selections were limited, but even worse, as we sadly learned when we spoke with the owner while paying our bill, what was available had been sitting around for quite some time, so nothing we had was hot -- just barely room temperature.

                        We chose four items. I thought the wraps on the shrimp buns and vegetable buns were rubbery. Could that have been because they were not fresh? The meatballs had good flavor but were a bit gelatinous. Again, I'm guessing they would have been really good if they had been hot. The pork buns did not suffer from being rubbery, and the filling was tasty; however, there was scarcely any pork.

                        When the owner, himself, tells you that you shouldn't come in so late, that there is much more choice and the food tastes much better when you come earlier, you know that you've messed up big time! :-( lol

                        I was considering trying a different place, perhaps, Sunny Palace. However, my husband wants to give West Lake another chance. So, we plan to go back next Saturday -- *early* -- just after they open at 11 a.m.

                        So, here's a shout-out to seal, bgut, jsfein and anyone else familiar with West Lake's dim sum. Is there a menu listing the dim sum options? And what are the tastiest items?

                        Thanks in advance for your input.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: RGR
                          seal RE: RGR Mar 4, 2007 09:39 AM

                          I will be playing a poker tournament at Caeser's in AC next Saturday or my wife and I would join you.

                          I just posted a description of what we usually do and eat there:

                          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/377210

                          All the seafood and vegetable items are good. We particularly like them lightly dipped in the sauce from the long rolled white noodle dish so we try to get a plate of those noodles with extra sauce first.

                          In general, just ask for a menu when you come in. Treat the lunch like any other and order only a dish or two. Then sit back and let the tasty morsels come to you.

                          Enjoy.

                          1. re: seal
                            r
                            RGR RE: seal Mar 4, 2007 07:21 PM

                            Thanks, seal. I did see your post this morning, but I didn't have time to respond because we were heading into NYC to see a play. We had dinner at Amalia, a brandy new restaurant in the Theater District. I'll probably post about it on the Manhattan board. But in a word: sensational!!

                            P.S. It would have been lovely to do the dim sum with you and your wife, but I'm sure there will be other opportunities. Good luck in the tournament!

                          2. re: RGR
                            bgut1 RE: RGR Mar 4, 2007 07:57 PM

                            I'm sorry you didn't have such a good experience at West Lake. Going late in the afternoon is no excuse for the food not being up to par. If its not good, they shouldn't sell it. That being said, West Lakes' forte is not dim sum but its regular dinner menu. I've had better dim sum at Sunny Palace (exactly the opposite to West Lake in that it's dim sum is much better than its regular dishes) and Wonder Seafood. In fact the single best dim sum dish I've ever had was at Sunny Palace - barbecued chicken feet - gelatinous and wonderful. BTW, I would be happy to join you and seal for dim sum at any of these fine restaurants. Good luck and be well.

                            1. re: bgut1
                              r
                              RGR RE: bgut1 Mar 5, 2007 06:14 AM

                              bgut1, You're right! If West Lake is offering dim sum until 3 p.m., everything should be at par until the very end. It is inexcusable for their offerings to sit around in the carts so that they end up being served at an incorrect temperature.

                              I would actually prefer to try Sunny Palace's dim sum rather than returning to West Lake. But my husband wants to give W.L. another chance. Maybe we'll have a little further discussion about that....

                              As I've mentioned, unfortunately, at the last minute, I had to bow out of the first dim sum get-together at West Lake a few Saturdays ago. :-( :-( I take it you were not there either? I hope there will be another dim sum event sometime soon, and that those who were at the first one, as well as those who couldn't make, will all be available to attend.

                          3. bgut1 RE: nyebaby37 Mar 5, 2007 07:45 AM

                            RGR, I did in fact miss the last dim sum get together. We should try another one.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: bgut1
                              r
                              RGR RE: bgut1 Mar 5, 2007 07:56 AM

                              Agreed! I'll consult with seal and see what we can set up.

                              1. re: bgut1
                                val ann c RE: bgut1 Mar 5, 2007 09:06 AM

                                We'd like to join you all for dim sum anyplace in central NJ... We couldn't make the recent gathering at West Lake. Seal has my email.

                                1. re: val ann c
                                  r
                                  RGR RE: val ann c Mar 5, 2007 09:28 AM

                                  Val, Before I had to bow out, seal mentioned to me that you couldn't make it. Once he and I talk, we'll be in touch. It ended up being just three couples. I'm hoping we can have a bigger turnout next time. (Note: I presume, as seal did last time, we'll also post an announcement on this board and provide contact info.)

                                  1. re: RGR
                                    n
                                    njeggy1 RE: RGR Mar 5, 2007 09:56 AM

                                    If you do this at West Lake on a week night, I'm game!

                                    1. re: njeggy1
                                      r
                                      RGR RE: njeggy1 Mar 5, 2007 11:16 AM

                                      Dim sum is only available on weekends. If, at some point, the group wants to do a regular dinner at West Lake or anywhere else, I'm fine with doing it during the week though I suspect it may be a problem for some others. Actually, during last summer, seal tried to arrange a gathering, but he couldn't get it off the ground then. The previous dim sum meet-up was his second try. This time, I'll work with him. Hopefully, if we can get this next gathering to come off, then we can continue to make future plans.

                                    2. re: RGR
                                      j
                                      jsfein RE: RGR Mar 5, 2007 10:53 AM

                                      Actually, it was two couples ... seal and yours truly. Despite the small size, a good time was had. Sorry to hear your recent visit to Westlake was less than great. I'm in bgut1's camp on Westlake's dim sum that there is better dim sum to be had in the area. It seems like the rest of the menu is where Westlake really shines. But if your husband is insistent on returning there for dim sum, I'd follow many of the dishes recommended by seal in his recent post. Everything we tried at Westlake was good, but nothing was really great. If you return, I'd arrive not immediately after the restaurant opens, but around 11:30 to 11:45. I've found that when you arrive at opening the kitchen doesn't always yet have available the entire dim sum menu. You shouldn't have a problem getting seated any time before 12 pm. I haven't tried the dim sum at Sunny Palace, but I happened to drive by Sunday around noon and the parking lot was packed. I plan on giving it a try soon.

                                      1. re: jsfein
                                        r
                                        RGR RE: jsfein Mar 5, 2007 11:19 AM

                                        Hi, jsfein, Thanks for the input re: West Lake. As I mentioned, I may try my husband out of it. But if not, your advice, along with seal's, is very helpful.

                                        Based on what everyone is saying here, I think we should consider making the next dim sum gathering at Sunny Palace. Since you say you want to try it, I presume you would be willing to participate? (Note: I know you like Crowne Palace, and Marlboro would certainly be the most convenient for us. Like less than 5 minutes from our house. But I don't think my husband and I are terribly anxious to give them our business because of the snotty way we were treated.)

                                2. seal RE: nyebaby37 Mar 6, 2007 03:04 AM

                                  I am always up for some good chow.

                                  But, if we want the best chinese food experience locally, we should consider just going to Westlake and eating their regular food, not dim sum. There are many great dishes to explore and fat, fresh fish waiting to be eaten.

                                  But, put me down as interested in anything we all decide.

                                  One other note RGR - I had a similar, rude, snotty experience at Sunny Palace and have not been back since.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: seal
                                    r
                                    RGR RE: seal Mar 6, 2007 08:57 AM

                                    seal, Now that you've mentioned that experience at Sunny Palace, I recall reading a post on another food forum some time ago about very rude treatment there. I guess that means we should eliminate it for our get-together?

                                    Your idea of the group going to West Lake for a regular meal together sounds like a plan. I will be in touch.

                                  2. f
                                    FoodDude2 RE: nyebaby37 Mar 6, 2007 06:35 AM

                                    Is there any place around here where you can get an authentic Sichuan Hot Pot meal?? I saw it on tv not too long ago and have been craving it ever since.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: FoodDude2
                                      b
                                      BrianYarvin RE: FoodDude2 Mar 6, 2007 06:48 AM

                                      Food Dude2:

                                      The Dragon Palace in Edison has a VERY authentic Sichuan hot pot. I haven't been there in a while, but Sichuan Spring in Highland Park did too.

                                      Don't expect to find it on the English menu, but if you ask...

                                    2. c
                                      crystalamendola RE: nyebaby37 Feb 2, 2010 04:26 PM

                                      I am a neighborhood regular of shanghai bun, and I would like to highly recommend this restaurant. The decor of the restaurant has recently improved a lot, and there are no styrofoam plates, I don't know where that idea comes from. They do have styrofoam cups at the complimentary tea table. The food is very good and extremely authentic. It always tastes like it has been made with fresh ingredients. The staff is actually very friendly but one thing that may make them seem less warm than they are is that their English is not great, so they don't converse much with Americans. Sorry that it doesn't have the decor of P.F Changs, or the crappy corporate food that can be found at such places. In my experience some of the best food in the world comes from whole in the wall, shabby places. But they have renovated the place very nicely anyway. One thing you will notice about the restaurant is that they get plenty of regular business from Asian people who are looking for authentic Asian cuisine and have high standards for it. There are not very many white people who go regularly besides myself. Maybe they are scared away that its not an Applebee's.

                                      8 Replies
                                      1. re: crystalamendola
                                        n
                                        nyebaby37 RE: crystalamendola Feb 3, 2010 06:20 AM

                                        Uh, crystal, the original post was THREE years ago -- hello. There were styrofoam plate then, the place was gross. I dont do chains so not sure "where that comes from". Heard they recently upgraded the decor, thats good. Shabby and dirty are two different things, so hopefully 3 years later thats changed too. I'm a regular to nyc chinatown, not a stranger to different languages or cultures having studied abroad. have a great day and enjoy your meals there.

                                        1. re: crystalamendola
                                          j
                                          joonjoon RE: crystalamendola Feb 3, 2010 11:15 AM

                                          Crystal and I love going to Shang Hai bun together. :)

                                          Nyebaby, you really oughtta give the place another chance. You might be pleasantly surprised.

                                          My go to dishes are the soup dumplings and the spicy beef soup. So tender!

                                          1. re: joonjoon
                                            bgut1 RE: joonjoon Feb 3, 2010 03:01 PM

                                            Like joonjoon, I too love eating at SB and take my kids there regularly. Scratch that. My kids demand that I take them there regularly. My go to dishes are the soup dumplings, the spicy beef soup and the pork and pickled radish soup. I take hygiene and cleanliness very seriously and never found the restaurant to be gross or dirty. That being said, I am very happy with the recent renovations (especially the vestibule and the added tables). With regard to the waitstaff, while I admit they can be a little gruff, they never detracted from the meal and even added a little character to the experience (a la a good delicatessen).

                                            1. re: bgut1
                                              r
                                              RGR RE: bgut1 Feb 3, 2010 05:12 PM

                                              Glad to hear that the paper plates are gone and that they've gussied up the place a bit. When we were there a few years ago, it was the middle of the week in the afternoon during the winter, and the inside was like an igloo. It didn't seem as though there was any heat on. I hate having to eat wearing my winter jacket and gloves. Hopefully, that isn't the case now, and that the vestibule helps to keep the cold air outside. We love soup dumplings, so we may give Shanghai Bun another try.

                                              1. re: RGR
                                                seal RE: RGR Feb 3, 2010 05:37 PM

                                                My family and I also like SHB a lot. I go for the noodles with hot bean sauce whenever I can and maybe a scallion pancake or two ;o)

                                                1. re: seal
                                                  njchowgal RE: seal Feb 6, 2010 10:00 AM

                                                  we also like SHB. our favorite dishes have been the noodle soup with chicken and mustard greens, and the general tsao's chicken, which has a nice vinaigre kick to it. what are soup dumplings? as far as i knew, SHB served soup and dumplings, but i don't remember seeing the two together on a menu.

                                                  1. re: njchowgal
                                                    j
                                                    joonjoon RE: njchowgal Feb 6, 2010 02:54 PM

                                                    I forget what they call the soup dumplings on the menu - but you can ask for "jow long bow." (xiaolongbao)

                                                    It's easily the best thing they have there...

                                                    The "soup" is inside the dumplings, so don't expect to get any soup with it... :)

                                                    1. re: joonjoon
                                                      e
                                                      eleeper RE: joonjoon Feb 6, 2010 03:58 PM

                                                      Soup dumplings are the first item on the menu. They're called steamed pork buns.

                                        2. h
                                          HelenB RE: nyebaby37 Feb 12, 2010 10:38 AM

                                          Read about Shanghai Bun on this broad for a while and decided to try it today. The place was kind of between a takeout and a restaurant. I am not particularly impressed by the decoration or lack of it. I remember people on this broad mentioned how bad the decoration was years ago and now the place had been renovated. As for its cleanliness, it was relatively clean/acceptable to me(at least from what I could see). The waitress was polite and I asked for the soup pork buns and I ordered Shanghai Wantons too! I thought that the soup pork buns were an appetizer, I should have read the menu more carefully, there were 8 of them!

                                          Both dishes taste very authentic. The soup pork buns(siao lung bao) were very well made, the wrappings were thin and the soup inside was hot! Definitely dip the buns in the ginger vinegar sauce. If you can stand the steaming heat, eat the bun in one bite. I was told by a friend from Shanghai, that is the way to enjoy the goodness of this dish. The Shanghai Wanton(dumplings with vegetable and pork) in soup, there were some vegetables and seaweed in the soup too. The dumplings were excellent, they are nothing like the dumplings from the Chinese takeout. The wrappers were thin and basically transparent, the ingredients were really fresh. During the time I was there, excluding me, there were two families but there were a few people stopped by for the takeout. The waitress told me that most of their customers are Chinese but with an increasing number of non Chinese these days.

                                          This is not a place you go for the ambience or the service; but if you care for some soup dumplings or wantons, do consider.

                                          9 Replies
                                          1. re: HelenB
                                            b
                                            BigBlue120 RE: HelenB Feb 15, 2010 06:08 AM

                                            On Saturday, I was running some errands, getting some things for New Years and decided to pop in for some takeout. Got the soup dumplings, shanghai wonton noodle soup and some beef chow fun to bring home.

                                            A nice bonus was getting a chance to check out the cigar shop nearby while waiting for the order (15 min).

                                            My next errand took waaaay longer than expected, and the soup dumplings were consumed (quite quickly) in the car. The shanghai wonton noodle soup made it home, the soup spent a few min in the micro, then I let the noodles and wontons soak in hot soup before carefully pulling them apart (noted above). Beef Chow Fun was decent enough eaten later with dinner.

                                            I think we'll head back as a family with plans to eat in.

                                            1. re: BigBlue120
                                              j
                                              joonjoon RE: BigBlue120 Feb 15, 2010 01:25 PM

                                              Went to SHB for lunch today...

                                              The bad news was that the dumplings were a little disappointing. The xiaolongbao was a little underseasoned. :(

                                              The good news, they have a new, expanded menu with lots of authentic sounding offerings. I tried their intestine noodle soup which came loaded with tripe, and some other offal part i didn't recognize. I also tried a beef sandwich type thing which made for a tasty appetizer.

                                              I'll definitely be heading back to try the rest of their new offerings.

                                              1. re: joonjoon
                                                bgut1 RE: joonjoon Feb 15, 2010 04:01 PM

                                                joonjoon - I was there this past weekend and thought the soup dumplings tasted as good as they always have. I too noticed the beef sandwich on the menu and wondered what it consisted of. Can you describe it? Thanks.

                                                1. re: bgut1
                                                  s
                                                  sockster RE: bgut1 Feb 16, 2010 05:27 AM

                                                  Beef, chopped scallions on rice noodle pancake, with grilled sesame seeds. Amazing. And while talking about SB, they now serve a Chinese breakfast food on weekends and have waitress service. We were there this past Saturday and it was packed. Also, if you've never tried their Singapore Mei Fun or Singapore Chow Fun, RUSH THERE to try. It's amazing!

                                                  1. re: sockster
                                                    j
                                                    joonjoon RE: sockster Feb 16, 2010 06:17 AM

                                                    What he said. :D

                                                    I think there's also a little cilantro going on in there too. It's got a nice sweet and salty thing going on.

                                                    And +1 on their Singapore Mei Fun, but then again all their noodles are great. :)

                                                    I also saw the Chinese breakfast menu! All I remember is seeing cold tendon salad and thinking YUM!

                                                    Sockster, do you have any recs from the breakfast menu?

                                                    1. re: joonjoon
                                                      s
                                                      sockster RE: joonjoon Feb 17, 2010 11:10 PM

                                                      We tried the radish bun which were fantastic....also had the requisite noodle soup along with XLB and scallion pancake. I just go, see what the locals are eating and ask....Most everyhting is EXCELLENT!!

                                                      1. re: sockster
                                                        JerzeyShore RE: sockster Feb 18, 2010 07:44 AM

                                                        Sockster, bgut1 & joonjoon, Thanks for your recent reports, which reminded me of how much we like this place. We will have to get back there soon to sample this authentic Shanghai asian food again.

                                                        1. re: JerzeyShore
                                                          s
                                                          sockster RE: JerzeyShore Feb 20, 2010 04:39 AM

                                                          And if you haven't been, make sure you get to Westlake, one shopping center down from SB. Genuine, real, Cantonese food. Fantastic lobster Cantonese, and Peking Duck...and everything else. And they do authentic dim sum on weekends.

                                                          1. re: sockster
                                                            JerzeyShore RE: sockster Feb 21, 2010 03:29 PM

                                                            Made it today to SB for an early dinner. We liked the new decor and the food was great as always. Fried pork dumplings, chicken w/ mustard greens, seafood soup and scallion pancakes.

                                          2. r
                                            Randol RE: nyebaby37 Feb 13, 2010 09:19 AM

                                            I've always done take-out and have never been disappointed. The shrimp shu-mai, scallion pancakes, and spicy beef noodle soup are excellent. The lunch special offerings, which come with wonton soup, actually have a good amount of the main dish rather than piles of rice with just a few pieces of chicken or beef mixed in. I know it's not the prettiest decor to look at, but it's all about the food.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Randol
                                              h
                                              HelenB RE: Randol Feb 22, 2010 10:10 AM

                                              Tried the beef sandwich, it was great! The order came with two pancakes, each was sliced opened with the beef inside. The pancakes(as they called) has sesame on them, crispy and with the aroma of the sesame! The beef is actually marinated with some sauce and cilantro. The waitress said that if cilantro was not preferred, they could take them out too. To me, the favor was excellent and they did not really stuffed me, unlike having a real beef sandwich!

                                            2. a
                                              autumnlilacs RE: nyebaby37 Mar 13, 2010 08:10 PM

                                              Does anyone have a copy of their new breakfast menu? It sounds really intriguing, especially since this seems to be the only place in the area that offers something like this!

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: autumnlilacs
                                                j
                                                joonjoon RE: autumnlilacs Mar 15, 2010 08:52 AM

                                                Well, I was there a couple weeks ago and the breakfast menu they had at the entrance is now gone....inside the restaurant there is another weekend menu posted on the wall, but it's in all Chinese this time. I asked them what it was and I was told they're doing dim sum on the weekends now.

                                                I'm not sure what exactly happened with the previous breakfast menu - but it appears they scrapped the breakfast in favor of dim sum...

                                                1. re: joonjoon
                                                  y
                                                  yCf RE: joonjoon Apr 5, 2010 12:38 PM

                                                  I was at Shanghai Bun this past weekend.

                                                  I think the Dim Sum they are referring is the same thing as the breakfast menu. In Chinese, Dim Sum just means small plates but the in the Northern parts of China such as Shanghai, the Dim Sum offering are steamed buns, beef sandwich, scallion pancakes, etc. In southern parts, Dim Sum will be the shrimp dumpling and shu-mai and like you get from the cart service in Sunny Palace or Crown Palace.
                                                  So the breakfast / dim sum menu is there in the weekend, i did not pay attention on whether there is English translation on that menu or not.

                                                  The place was crowded, and the ladies running the place were running around like headless chickens. It looks like the kitchen cannot catch up with orders. There are people called in for take out ahead of time but the food was not ready.

                                                  Anyhow, the place provide really cheap, decent quality and authentic Northern Chinese cuisine. When you go there, think of it as a hole in the wall place somewhere in China town. In other words, don't expect anyone there to spend time answering your questions especially when they are busy.

                                                  I am not knocking them, i actually like this place but I just want to caution you about the service or the lack of.

                                                  1. re: yCf
                                                    buttertart RE: yCf May 7, 2010 09:06 AM

                                                    Do they have northern-style breakfast/dian xin?

                                                    1. re: buttertart
                                                      y
                                                      yCf RE: buttertart May 8, 2010 07:54 AM

                                                      yes. Things such as sweet or salty soy milk, pancakes and sticky rice with dried meat & fried dough filling are available.

                                                      1. re: yCf
                                                        buttertart RE: yCf May 9, 2010 07:33 AM

                                                        Must check it out next time we're down that way.

                                              2. b
                                                BigBlue120 RE: nyebaby37 Mar 14, 2010 02:21 PM

                                                I thought I read about another place on Route 35 in/near Shrewsbury for similar dishes. Anyone know where? I couldn't find it when I just went back to look.

                                                Thanks.

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: BigBlue120
                                                  s
                                                  sockster RE: BigBlue120 Mar 14, 2010 02:54 PM

                                                  On the weekends and holidays, Crown Palace serves excellent Dim Sum.

                                                  1. re: sockster
                                                    b
                                                    BigBlue120 RE: sockster Mar 14, 2010 05:20 PM

                                                    Agreed, we lost power this weekend, and took some takeout this morning.

                                                    I was thinking more of a soup dumpling, noodle soup type place... maybe tinton falls?

                                                    1. re: BigBlue120
                                                      s
                                                      sockster RE: BigBlue120 Mar 14, 2010 05:51 PM

                                                      I'm in Shanghai as I write this. Had the best soup dumplings in the world here yesterday....I know, no help in NJ...but if you find other XIO LONG BAO other than Shanghai Bun locally, would love to know...coming home TOMORROW!!

                                                      1. re: sockster
                                                        c
                                                        crvgt RE: sockster Mar 16, 2010 11:53 AM

                                                        I'm in Japan as I write this... Happily, there are a number of very good places to get soup dumplings here. Had them at Din Tai Fung in the Takishamaya shopping center yesterday and they were quite good along with a number of other types of dumplings.

                                                        Athough I enjoy a number of things at Shanghai Bun, including their soups and their homemade noodle dishes, unfortunately the xiaolongbao is not one of the things that i think they make very well. The skins are tough and they invariably leak out all their soup even before you pick them up.

                                                        The place i like the best is Hong Fu in Highland Park. They have a soft, but not-too-thin skin, a really tasty broth and a very nice filling. I think Shanghai Park in Princeton has very similar ones as well (think these two restaurants used to be related). They are also a little larger than most restaurants out here in Asia serve them, but that's not a bad thing to me. The rest of the food on the menu is also very good, so give this place a try.

                                                        -----
                                                        Shanghai Bun Restaurant
                                                        952 State Route 34 Ste 6, Matawan, NJ 07747

                                                        1. re: crvgt
                                                          s
                                                          sockster RE: crvgt Mar 16, 2010 06:51 PM

                                                          Funny, I'm in Shanghai as I write this, leaving today, but had breakfast at YANGS, who make out of this world fried soup dumplings and right across the street, JIA JIA, who make outstanding xiaolongbao. Had the pork and crab, all pork and all crab....amazing!!

                                                      2. re: BigBlue120
                                                        h
                                                        HelenB RE: BigBlue120 Mar 22, 2010 11:28 AM

                                                        BigBlue120, I believe the place you heard about was Bando. It was on Route 35.(south on Route 35 compared to Crown Palace) Bando served the soup dumplings and noodles, they were run by Taiwanese. The food was good but it is no longer in business. Some chowhounders said that it was being renovated last Fall but it never re-opened and I passed the place a after the second snow storm and the parking lot was not cleared. Another Chowhounder advised that there was a "For Rent" sign outside the place....

                                                  2. j
                                                    joonjoon RE: nyebaby37 May 6, 2010 03:50 PM

                                                    Shanghai Bun has a new, expanded menu now (again). There's a ton of really authentic and awesome sounding dishes available. Last time we were there we tried the "Big Bone Soup" - a really hearty and gelatinous soup that's served in a pot with....you guessed it...a huge beef femur cracked open. I'm a total sucker for that kind of thing so I immediately dove in for the bone and gnawed all the meat/cartilage off it. :D Oh yeah, the soup was pretty good too.

                                                    We also tried the salt and pepper shrimp which was just meh.

                                                    But their soup dumplings were the best I've had there...they were really, really, reeallly good. The beef sandwich was also once again a hit, among other things.

                                                    If you haven't tried the spicy beef noodle soup yet, you must. Also love the jajang mein there.

                                                    This place just keeps getting more awesome...

                                                    -----
                                                    Shanghai Bun Restaurant
                                                    952 State Route 34 Ste 6, Matawan, NJ 07747

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: joonjoon
                                                      MWinston RE: joonjoon Aug 6, 2010 06:59 PM

                                                      I was at SB for dinner tonight. I went to order the Big Bone Hot Pot and the lady looked at me like I was crazy and said "maybe you should try something else".... what she meant was, 'you're too white to like this!' ... I'll have to go back another time and really give it a go, maybe bring an Asian friend with me.

                                                      1. re: MWinston
                                                        s
                                                        sockster RE: MWinston Aug 6, 2010 07:37 PM

                                                        Funny. we were there tonight too. We had the soup dumplings and the Big Bone HP and had no problem ordering it. Weird, right??

                                                        1. re: sockster
                                                          Tapas52 RE: sockster Aug 6, 2010 09:47 PM

                                                          sockster sooo how was it?

                                                          1. re: Tapas52
                                                            s
                                                            sockster RE: Tapas52 Aug 7, 2010 12:57 AM

                                                            We go here a lot and know the owner. So when we ordered it, they said it would take a while (it took 10 minutes) and personally I liked it (especially liked sucking the marrow out of the "big bone"). Soup was cloudy with all sorts of veggies and SB's incredible noodles. More of a winter dish, but it was wonderful.

                                                            1. re: sockster
                                                              Tapas52 RE: sockster Aug 7, 2010 07:44 AM

                                                              Thanks ....this place is on my goto list when I'm close by.

                                                              1. re: Tapas52
                                                                s
                                                                sockster RE: Tapas52 Aug 7, 2010 12:21 PM

                                                                It's VERY LOCAL...not atmosphere, but wonderful food. Try the Singapore Chow Mai Fun- great version. Just tried their Salt and Pepper shrimp.-Amazing...their scallion pancake..great too. In fact, almost everything we've tried there...and we eat some of the things not on the menu..are authentic and wonderful...and FRESH!!!

                                                    2. MWinston RE: nyebaby37 May 19, 2010 10:08 PM

                                                      I was there for dinner today and was very excited to see that they had expanded their menu with many new authentic sounding dishes. I tried one new dish this visit which was in the cold appetizer section. It was the Spicy Beef and Beef Tendon and I really enjoyed it. There was basically 3 different beef parts in it: thin-sliced tendon, brisket-like beef, and the third part I didn't quite recognize but I think it was tripe. Delicious new addition to my SB repertoire.

                                                      -----
                                                      Shanghai Bun Restaurant
                                                      952 State Route 34 Ste 6, Matawan, NJ 07747

                                                      1. a
                                                        autumnlilacs RE: nyebaby37 May 20, 2010 08:18 PM

                                                        I hadn't been to Shanghai Bun in over a year and from the recent reports on here, I thought it was about time to check out their improvements myself. I heard that the original SB in Flushing had closed because their owners moved down here to take over. I've been to the original SB and I recognized the same items on the now expanded menu. Their xiao long bao are just as great as I remember them. We also got an order of the beef sandwich, Shanghai wonton soup, and pork chop over rice. (No room for their famous noodles this time!) We were very pleased with everything we ordered. I'm already planning another trip to check out their weekend breakfast/brunch offerings!

                                                        -----
                                                        Shanghai Bun Restaurant
                                                        952 State Route 34 Ste 6, Matawan, NJ 07747

                                                        15 Replies
                                                        1. re: autumnlilacs
                                                          Tapas52 RE: autumnlilacs Jul 10, 2010 01:39 PM

                                                          autumlilacs et all.. thanx for the review ...I have added SB to my new restaurant list on my phone ....when I'm close I will definitly give it a try......any menu suggestion that are a must there?

                                                          thanks

                                                          1. re: Tapas52
                                                            j
                                                            joonjoon RE: Tapas52 Jul 10, 2010 08:15 PM

                                                            IMO you should start with their xiao long bao and spicy beef noodle soup.

                                                            1. re: joonjoon
                                                              Tapas52 RE: joonjoon Jul 10, 2010 10:00 PM

                                                              joonjoon thanx I wrote it down.........I report back afterwards also..

                                                              1. re: Tapas52
                                                                j
                                                                joonjoon RE: Tapas52 Jul 11, 2010 07:54 AM

                                                                Yeah, fyi the xiao long bao = soup dumplings, but on the menu it's called something else. but if you ask for either of those things they'll know what you're talking about.

                                                                Another excellent option for appetizer is the beef sandwich.

                                                                1. re: joonjoon
                                                                  Tapas52 RE: joonjoon Jul 11, 2010 09:01 AM

                                                                  ok joonjoon I understand.....cant wait to give it a try. A beef sandwich at a chinese restaurant?

                                                                  1. re: Tapas52
                                                                    MWinston RE: Tapas52 Jul 12, 2010 03:16 PM

                                                                    I haven't actually ordered the beef sandwich at Shanghai Bun yet, but I'd guess it's thin sliced beef and veggies (maybe carrot-slaw) between sesame or scallion bread... I had a dish like this at Vanessa's Dumplings in NY. I'll probably give this a shot at my next visit

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Shanghai Bun Restaurant
                                                                    952 State Route 34 Ste 6, Matawan, NJ 07747

                                                            2. re: Tapas52
                                                              e
                                                              eleeper RE: Tapas52 Jul 11, 2010 07:12 AM

                                                              Soup dumplings (or whatever their first dumpling item is called).

                                                              1. re: Tapas52
                                                                j
                                                                joonjoon RE: Tapas52 Jul 22, 2010 07:34 AM

                                                                Just went there last night with a fairly large party...9 people ate until we couldn't eat any more for 90 bucks. Now that's a bargain.

                                                                The highlight of the night was definitely the fried fish in bean sauce...it was amazing. Add it to your "must try" list for SHB...

                                                                1. re: joonjoon
                                                                  bgut1 RE: joonjoon Jul 22, 2010 07:58 AM

                                                                  joon - Thanks for the report. As I usually go for my spicy beef noodle soup and soup dumpling fix, I rarely get the chance to try anything else on the menu. I'll make a mental note to give the fried fish a go the next time I'm there.

                                                                  1. re: bgut1
                                                                    Tapas52 RE: bgut1 Aug 24, 2010 08:21 PM

                                                                    Today in the rain I drove all the way over to Shanghai Bun my mouth watering for my FIRST time there .....as I had business in the Matawan area.....when I finally pulled into the parking lot I was rewarded with a Closed on Tuesday Sign on the door Arggggggggggggg!..........pulled away in disgust, never heard of any Chinese Restaurant closed any day but Thanksgiving?.....anyway disappointed to the max, and hopefully someday when I'm nearby again I'll check it out.

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Shanghai Bun Restaurant
                                                                    952 State Route 34 Ste 6, Matawan, NJ 07747

                                                                    1. re: Tapas52
                                                                      e
                                                                      eleeper RE: Tapas52 Aug 25, 2010 06:07 AM

                                                                      This isn't new, though--I think they've been closed Tuesday for as long as they've been open. (As opposed to the Thai restaurants, which tend to close on Mondays. Both Siam Smiles and Thai Thai were closed on Mondays for ages. After Thai Shangri-La opened seven days a week, I seem to recall Thai Thai started to do the same.)

                                                                      -----
                                                                      Siam Smiles
                                                                      1016 State Route 34, Matawan, NJ 07747

                                                                      Thai Thai Restaurant
                                                                      3843 Highway 516, Old Bridge, NJ 08857

                                                                      Shangri-La
                                                                      101 Springdale Ave, Trenton, NJ 08620

                                                                      1. re: eleeper
                                                                        Tapas52 RE: eleeper Aug 25, 2010 06:32 AM

                                                                        Well...I havn't given up on Shanghai Bun yet ......just have to prolong the agony and try again next time ....when they are open....
                                                                        live and learn!

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Shanghai Bun Restaurant
                                                                        952 State Route 34 Ste 6, Matawan, NJ 07747

                                                                      2. re: Tapas52
                                                                        MWinston RE: Tapas52 Aug 25, 2010 10:01 AM

                                                                        Yeah, I have no idea why, but I've always got a Shanghai Bun craving on Tuesday nights.... when I can't have it!

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Shanghai Bun Restaurant
                                                                        952 State Route 34 Ste 6, Matawan, NJ 07747

                                                                        1. re: Tapas52
                                                                          j
                                                                          joonjoon RE: Tapas52 Aug 25, 2010 02:50 PM

                                                                          Tapas that sucks!!! I'm sorry to hear that...what did you end up doing instead? I know this is the SHB thread but West Lake next door serves up some mean Chinese.

                                                                          1. re: joonjoon
                                                                            Tapas52 RE: joonjoon Aug 25, 2010 05:59 PM

                                                                            joonjoon being it was raining hard and I had a long drive home...I just left in disappointment and went home.....later on that evening we went to Capone's Italian restaurant in Toms River for some fine Pasta Puttanesca & Spaghetti Carbonara.........

                                                                2. Duppie RE: nyebaby37 Aug 8, 2010 09:03 AM

                                                                  Here's something interesting. I went to Costco this morning and while waiting at the light to make the left turn onto Old Post Rd I happened to look up and saw a new Shanghai Bun sign added to the little strip mall with the small H mart in it. I drove in but didn't see any vacant spots although the Pizza place looks rather forlorn and on it's last legs.
                                                                  Does anyone know if they have another branch in the works?

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Duppie
                                                                    MWinston RE: Duppie Aug 15, 2010 06:32 PM

                                                                    Where is this? Is Old Post Road in Freehold?

                                                                    1. re: MWinston
                                                                      Duppie RE: MWinston Aug 15, 2010 06:59 PM

                                                                      Sorry ,in Edison.

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