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Shan Dong report

Robert Lauriston Sep 19, 2007 01:12 PM

Finally tried Shan Dong last night.

Pork and leek dumplings were the highlight. Made to order, delicious.

Pig ear terrine was simple, excellent texture, slight star-anise flavor.

Handmade noodles with sesame and spinach were pretty good. I've had better noodles at Eastern House in Milpitas.

Fried tofu appetizer was nicely done but the sauce was a bit bland.

Dry-freed green beans were OK.

  1. Melanie Wong Sep 21, 2007 01:31 AM

    You were fortunate to have made to order dumplings. Not so, the last few times I've wandered by.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong
      Robert Lauriston Sep 21, 2007 08:52 AM

      Might have been because we were there late, half an hour before closing.

      Reading up on Shandong cuisine, they really don't seem to have much besides a few dumplings, the fresh noodles, and the breads.

      1. re: Robert Lauriston
        tanspace Sep 21, 2007 05:03 PM

        I hope you mean "Shan Dong" the restaurant and not Shandong cuisine. That's a pretty general statement, like saying there's nothing to Italian cuisine besides spaghetti and pizza.

        There are many many dishes which originated as Shandong cuisine and then were adopted by rest of China. It is after all, 1 of the 4 major cuisines that make up Chinese food - and it is what the "Mandarin" part means when people say "Mandarin" cuisine instead of Cantonese.

        Some common items like Mu Shu pork and Dried-Fried chicken are all original Shandong cuisines.

        1. re: tanspace
          lexdevil Sep 21, 2007 05:11 PM

          My reading was that Robert meant that "Shan Dong the restaurant" doesn't have many typically "Shandong the cuisine' dishes," other than noodles, dumplings, and bread.

          1. re: lexdevil
            yimster Sep 21, 2007 08:00 PM

            The owners are from Shandong but the chefs in the kitchen are not. In the many times I have been there I have heard them speak Cantonese, so expect for the dumpling the rest of the food there is petty common fair.

            1. re: lexdevil
              Robert Lauriston Sep 22, 2007 08:10 AM

              Right. Most of the menu is generic.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                tanspace Sep 24, 2007 02:03 PM

                Another point about "Shan Dong" is their owners are directly from Shandong, China. So their menu will differ from the more common Korean-Chinese places run by Shandong folks who came by way of Korea. So they will actually serve BaoZi which you don't find often at Korean-Chinese places.

        2. re: Melanie Wong
          Marc Wallace Sep 21, 2007 10:59 AM

          I have asked explicitly several times and they were always willing to make them fresh for me (warning that it would take a bit longer). But I seem to go often enough that if it is two months between visits, the main waiter says "long time, no see!".

          Their frozen dumplings have gone up significantly in price. I know, I know, no substitute for fresh, but nice for evenings when I barely have energy to boil water. It was $17.70 for 50 Shan Dong dumplings, as versus $12.50 just five years ago.

        3. m
          Munching Mark Sep 20, 2007 02:15 PM

          SD is great overall, but I was a bit disappointed in the "iron skillet" (sorry, forget the exact term) dishes part of the menu...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Munching Mark
            yimster Sep 21, 2007 10:25 PM

            Are you thinking of the breath of the wok or in Cantonese Wok Hee,

          2. z
            zenki Sep 19, 2007 09:49 PM

            I think their ma-po tofu (aka spicy tofu) is excellent. it is full of flavor, just spicy enough and, best of all, not gloppy with cornstarch as so many are. I higly recommend it. I also liked the pea shoots with garlic. The noodles are great though the sauces are not alwasy so great. I, too, like the preserved veg and pork ones. The pork dumplings that they call shan dong special dumplings, with ground pork and ginger are delicious. I don't know if these are the dumplings others are referring to as pork and leek. Once we tried the shan dong special shrimp...not good... sweet and not much more.
            Did folks notice shan dong was in the chron bargain bites? With photo yet.

            1 Reply
            1. re: zenki
              Robert Lauriston Sep 20, 2007 08:54 AM

              Shan Dong Special Dumplings and Boiled Pork Dumplings with Leeks are two different dishes.

            2. lexdevil Sep 19, 2007 08:27 PM

              The giant steamed pork & veg buns on the breakfast menu are awesome. 95 cents each, and practically a full meal. Also on the breakfast menu, the Cooked Pie w/ Meat is a treat. It's thin slices of braised meat w/ cilantro between pieces of thin sesame bread. Really more like a sandwich...nothing to do w/ pie so far as I can see, but very tasty.

              I really like the chewy texture of the hand made noodles. The Special Chow Mein w/ the hand made noodles is nice, in that garden variety combo chow mein way. The Spicy Meat Sauce noodles are more sweet than spicy, but I do like them. The sauce reminds me of Korean Ja Jiang Mein.

              1. m
                mrfroopy Sep 19, 2007 05:26 PM

                The hand cut noodles with the meat sauce are excellent! I also like the Scallion Pankcake there. The Dumplings as you said are excellent,,Ps do you know of a Shanghai style restaurant that serves the real authentic Shanghai Vegetarian Dumpling?

                7 Replies
                1. re: mrfroopy
                  Robert Lauriston Sep 19, 2007 05:37 PM

                  I've never had that dish but have you tried Shanghai on Webster?

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                    waisicchai Sep 19, 2007 10:32 PM

                    I've been to Shanghai on Webster.....and to be honest, I think Shanghai is a better restaurant than Shan Dong. I used to go to Shan Dong with my mom, who works in Oakland C-town, until I see how dirty the place is. I've seen the dumpling chef picking up buns from the floor and place it back with the rest like nothing happened....and I couple other things....sorry, just want to point that out....I've never been back since.
                    Shanghai has the veggie dumpling that's pretty close to what I used to have in Hong Kong. Well, close but not really like the real thing....it's got go clean flavors though. They have some really impressive authentic Shanghainess plates.

                    1. re: waisicchai
                      kc72 Sep 19, 2007 10:41 PM

                      funny... re: the cleanliness factor, that's how I felt about Shanghai and haven't been back.

                      1. re: waisicchai
                        Robert Lauriston Sep 20, 2007 08:45 AM

                        I also think Shanghai's better than Shan Dong, but they're doing two different regional styles.

                        1. re: waisicchai
                          lintygmom Sep 22, 2007 09:20 AM

                          From my experiences inside China, the dumpling-chef incident and the dirtiness is part of an authentic experience.

                        2. re: Robert Lauriston
                          mrfroopy Sep 20, 2007 12:40 PM

                          yes, they(Shanghai on Webster) don't have them.. maybe its a New York Shanghai thing.. I just moved here from there.
                          I will try some Shanghai places in the Outer Richmond,,, maybe they have them. They are a specialty, the only good vegetarian dumplings I know of. They have dense baked tofu, black mushrooms, leeks or chinese chives, and other good chewy things, they are not the typical veg dumplings filled with soggy spinach or tasteless cabbage.

                        3. re: mrfroopy
                          daveena Sep 19, 2007 06:37 PM

                          The first time I had the knife-cut noodles with meat sauce, I was really impressed - the sauce was really balanced, and had a subtle smokiness. Subsequent orders haven't been as good (consistently lean towards sweet, and I never tasted smokiness again. Maybe something else was burning in the kitchen that first day, who knows). Lately, I've been ordering those noodles with pork and preserved vegetable instead.

                          Aside from the dumplings and the noodles, I haven't had much luck - the shandong chicken tastes like an average stir-fry and the Hunan-style fish was nearly inedibly salty. Excess saltiness marred a couple of the vegetarian dishes I've tried as well. The shredded potato with garlic sauce is ok (I'm not a great judge of it b/c I'm disturbed by crunchy potatoes. Ones that haven't been fried, that is).

                        4. Robert Lauriston Sep 19, 2007 01:13 PM

                          Adding a link:

                          Shan Dong Mandarin Restaurant
                          328 10th St, Oakland, CA 94607

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