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Apr 26, 2007 08:30 AM

china bowl // shanghai park, Highland park

Hello -- has anyone been to china bowl on 27 recently? going tonight for chinese (cantonese traditional // wonton soup, chicken black bean, fried rice, etc items). was there several years ago and food was good but it was dirty. what about shanghai park, have read good things about their dumplings. Need to stay in the HP or Rt 27 Edison area. Thanks

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  1. Definitely can't go wrong with the excellent steamed buns at Shanghai Park.

    1. I was at China Bowl a few days ago and it's still what it always was; a classic Cantonese noodle shop with a dingy vibe. It's not the most cheerful place, but I enjoy it every now and then.

      Luckily, you "need to stay" in the best Chinese food zone in the state. You could also go to Wonder Seafood, King's Village, or Sichuan Spring and unless you try to order gringo food, you're not likely to go wrong in any of them.

      1 Reply
      1. re: BrianYarvin

        perfectly put! IMO the best chinese food is in woodbridge, at china cafe on gill lane i just happen to be in 27 area 2nite. if i really had my choice i'd be @ 69 bayard street.. LOL. THX hounds

      2. We've been disappointed recently with China Bowl. We used to love it and go as often as possible. Recently... only when we're in the area and hungry.

        I'll have to check out Shanghai Park next time I'm around.

        15 Replies
        1. re: BigBlue120

          Tried Shaghai Park this past Sunday. First the good news. The soup dumplings were probably the best I have ever eaten. Even the shredded pork/pickled cabbage soup and the salt and pepper shrimp were quite good too. On the other hand I felt that cold unwelcome feeling of being an outsider that I have experienced in other "authentic" chinese retaurants. For example, when arriving we were handed an english menu with moslty standard americanized chinese food items. Also our standard "set-up" was augmented with forks (I'm sorry but I know how to use chopsticks very well thank you). Next I asked whether they have another menu. I was told yes and was given this large binder. Upon opening this book I found that all listings were in chinese so no go for me. Feeling quite uncomfortable at that point I just decided to order what I thought I knew was good food. Everything turned out okay but I truly hate being made to feel like an outsider. Chinese restaurants could do themselves a big favor to make everyone feel welcome. BTW, how do you eat salt and pepper shrimp? I see online that some people peel the shrimp while others eat it shells and all. Thanks.

          1. re: bgut1

            If fried properly, you can eat the hold thing, head and tail included. (like you would with soft shell crab). Just close your eyes. :).

            1. re: wench31

              Its good to know I ate it properly - shell, legs and tail (no head thank g-d). I always thought I was odd regularly eating fried shrimp tails. I always thought it had fantastic flavor. I am also happy to know that I'm not alone with regard to my feelings about the service. Thanks all.

            2. re: bgut1

              Steer clear of Shangai Park. I'll never forget my first (and last) visit there last December. Apart from the cold greeting, the server placed the tines of a fork on her chin as she was replying to my question. She then placed the fork on our table. I thought I was seeing things! No matter how good the food may be, I'll never go back!

              1. re: bgut1

                Sadly, I am a regular and feel the same way. Equaly problematically, the place is going to heck as the furnishings are getting threadbare and the front window is a travesty. That said, its good food.

                1. re: bgut1

                  I agree with others about the service. On my one visit, I got a fork plunked rather unceremoniously onto the table. This usually doesn't bug me but I did feel that the server was almost hostile. I think that the soup dumplings at Grand Shanghai on Route 1 are just as good and the service has always been great there. The waiters can be pretty helpful and have led me to try some interesting dishes (including duck tongues). They also make a fantastic salt and pepper shrimp with super crispy shells.

                  A few weeks ago I went back to Sichuan Spring after reading a glowing post but my experience was not great. The Dan Dan noodles were good but I got some green beans that tasted like they were fried with old sneakers- totally inedible. They were gracious though when I sent them back.

                  1. re: taste test

                    On the advice of taste test, I tried Grand Shanghai yesterday for an early dinner on the way to the Giants game. My group arrived at 5:30 PM to find the restaurant empty. This was understandable considering we were there between the afternoon dim sum rush and the typical start of dinner. In fact the place started to fill up 15 minutes after we arrived. We were seated in the "kids" dinning room off to the right of the front desk. I call it the kids’ room since it seems that all families with children were seated there. Also, the room had a large screen television showing cartoons. My son didn't complain and since he was happy I was too (you parents know what I mean). The decor of the restaurant was nice and I found it relatively clean. As is typical of authentic Chinese restaurants, we were presented with several "American" menus as well as fried noodles with duck sauce and hot mustard (again my son was happy). What was objectionable was not receiving hot tea which other diners received automatically (easily remedied however I was asked whether I wanted sweet tea ... huh?). I asked for a Chinese menu and was happy to find English translations. Onto the food: two orders of soup dumplings - pork and shrimp/pork; pork and preserved cabbage soup; pork shoulder with house special sauce; and shanghai wide noodles. Two things to bring up before the food. First, I noticed that other diners who arrived well after we did were served before us. While their food may have taken less time to cook then ours, I would hate to think we were served later because we were not Chinese. Second, the food was all served at once instead of staggered to prevent it from getting cold. In fact the noodles were cold by the time we ate them. Now to the good news, the xiao long bao were all excellent. As good or even better than Shanghai Park. The pork shoulder was also very good although not as good as China 46 (they used rice here instead of sesame buns - reminds me that I need to go back to China 46). The soup and the noodles were also very good (the noodles would have been better had they been warm). All in all a very good meal and I wouldn't hesitate to go back. Of the five places I've been in the Edison area (Shanghai Park, Wonder Seafood, Sunny Palace, Kings Village and GS), I would rate Grand Shanghai the best with Wonder a close second and then SP (for the soup dumplings only). Good Luck.

                    1. re: bgut1

                      I'm glad you had a good meal bgut1, interesting about the spotty service. My husband and I went for an early lunch today and noticed that we only recognized one of the usual waiters. We had a good meal but the service was not good. The waitress forgot to put in our main dish order so we ate soup dumplings and nursed our pea shoot leaves until they were cold and finally got her attention. She put in the order, with many apologies, but it was kind of a disjointed meal. I'm wondering if many of the waiters are on vacation? We decided not to go back until after Labor Day just in case.

                      If you ever go for dim sum (Shanghai style) on the weekends, check out the small cold dishes that are out on a shelf in the back dining room. They're all listed on the Chinese menu but it helped me a lot to look at the dishes. Everything I've tried has been really great.

                      1. re: taste test

                        Taste Test - Thanks for the recommendation.

                          1. re: nyebaby37

                            700 US Highway 1
                            Edison, NJ 08817

                            1. re: bgut1

                              Never been to Grand Shanghai. We love soup dumplings! So, bgut, if you say G.S.'s are excellent -- better than Shanghai Park's, which we thought were mighty fine -- it's now on my "go to" list. :-)

                              1. re: RGR

                                RGR - You'd be served well to listen to me :)

                              2. re: bgut1

                                oh i think i know this place -- changed hand a couple of x's, located on the north side of 1, but so of plainfield ave? do they have a liq license? thanks bgut1

                                1. re: nyebaby37

                                  nyebaby37 - I didn't notice a bar but I'm not sure. Sorry.