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Jan 9, 2008 08:12 PM

Dinner at Shanghai Dumpling King

Today I had a long day of work off-site and decided to get dinner in the Richmond. I had a taste for chewy noodles and dumplings, so I visited Shanghai Dumpling King on Balboa for the first time, and it was so very good.

I wasn't in the mood for exploration so I ordered two things I liked at the sister shop in Millbrae: stir-fried rice cakes and xiao long bao. The rice cakes were as amazing as the first time I tried them in Millbrae. I don't know what I was doing with the previous 27 years of my life; it's all a blur before I met rice cakes. These are probably my ideal noodles: quite chewy, sticky with sauce, and about the size of your thumb, mixed with bits of chicken and shredded cabbage. I ate till I was full and still probably have leftovers for two lunches.

The XLB weren't quite as good as the ones I had in Millbrae; they had a nice gingery flavor, but the skins were a bit thicker and less delicate. Still they were good, and I would order them again.

A friend of mine from work happened to be at the restaurant at the same time; he sent over some donuts to my table. Dear lord, these were so good. They were like dan tat in donut form: warm, rich, eggy and completely delicious, with a little puff of sugar on top.

My friend ended up paying my bill (sneaky!) so I didn't see the final tally, but I'd guess it was well under $15 for what essentially comprises three meals. When I return it'll be tough not to repeat my order exactly.

Shanghai Dumpling King
3319 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121

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  1. I found the xiaolong bao to be better at SDK than the sister (wife) restaurant in Millbrae. I don't recall a comparison of the wrappers, but the filling at SDK has a greater depth of flavor and better texture. I'll admit I've only been to SDS Millbrae once, a couple of years ago. It might have been an off day, or a different chef.

    Are you sure that was chicken in the nian gao (rice cakes)? I wouldn't seem right to without pork.

    3 Replies
      1. re: pane

        Phew -- I though the dump might be going yuppie on me!

        1. re: Xiao Yang

          Still delightfully dumpy, I am happy to report!

    1. Is this the same SDK chain that has opened at the former David's Kitchen location on Taraval St?

      6 Replies
      1. re: gfsf

        Unrelated, I believe. The people who took over David's Kitchen on Taraval are the owners of Kingdom of Dumplings on Noriega, a Chowhound favorite for frozen dumplings and hot pot ingredients. The owners are from Beijing and focus mostly on the thicker-skinned northern-style dumplings; one of their specialties is a ground-lamb dumpling.

        1. re: david kaplan

          And the resto on Taraval is called something like "King of Chinese Dumplings", no reference to "Shanghai".

          King of Chinese Duimplings (the dumpling makers) make a few Shanghainese specialties; the xiolong bao are not very good but the xie ke huang (crab shell dumplings) are good.

          1. re: Xiao Yang

            Kingdom of Dumpling is fantastic. They have XLB as well but it's not Shanghainese style. Friend said they also have Shen Jian Bao now, so should I get my behind up there, I wanna try it too.

            Great beef tendon noodle soup, it's a meat bone based broth with mushrooms, cooked for 5 hours with no MSG. Tastes so darn homey Northern Chinese. Glad they didn't just use a soy sauce + boiled water approach.

            1. re: K K

              I love that soup! Their noodles are pretty good too.

              1. re: K K

                Assuming they were the same dumplings made at the Noriega facility, I'd say the XLB were Shanghai style, just not executed well. They are definitely more Shanghai style than, say, the vaunted soup dumplings at Joes' Shanghai in New York.

                1. re: Xiao Yang

                  True dat, since you had to bring up Joe's...

                  But if you trek down to Sun Tung in San Mateo. Their XLB's contain chopped up veg, like cabbage. Makes it a little bit bigger, but bottom line....Eeeeeew........well not that bad, it was also poorly executed. The goop o' soup did not dissolve and stayed congealed. So whatever liquid poked out was watery but not soupy.

                  Loved your H.O.N.K referenceon the thread about House of Same (Hoisin) Sauce ;-).

        2. Were the donuts the ones in the attached photo?

          4 Replies
          1. re: manda

            YES! Those donuts were excellent.

            1. re: pane

              My mom and I snagged a plate fresh out of the fryer when we went to SDK a few weeks ago. I agree...fantastic and eggy.

            2. re: manda

              Thanks for the photo, those are another of Derek "ChowFun's" obsessions. (g)

              1. re: Melanie Wong

      's true...they came out warm..crispy...eggy..sugary at Hong Kong Flower Lounge...there they were translated as "Egg Bombs" (Jah Dahn) but other places have a different name for them...which I don't recall...because I had a little language fiasco over Jah Dahn (egg bomb) once..apparantly with a weak memory/mouth connection....I asked a waitress for "Sex Bomb!".(in my version of Brooklyn/Chinese (Sino-Brooklynese?!) ... she giggled...Yimster guffawed!! and I blushed..!

            3. I'm not a connoisseur of XLB but I thought SKD compared well with places in the San Gabriel Valley. I was there on a really cold, rainy evening however, so that might have effected my opinion...those things are esp. great when it's cold and rainy.

              1. I had the pleasure of eating at Shanghai Dumpling King recently for brunch. With 5 adults and 2 kids, we could try a variety of things, including two rounds of the donuts (the kids knew them as sugar puffs).

                The pork XLB were about perfect, and the crab XLB surprised me with their fresh taste. The fried dumplings (#12, didn't get the name, see photo) were my favorites, crunchy to almost burnt on the bottom, with thin-but-mysteriously-bread-like wrappers and a sweetish pork filling. The string beans were the right doneness, but a little oily. Crispy fried rice was good, but the sliced ham on top was jarringly salty. I think there must be a trick to eating that in balance. Some boiled dumplings were the weak link. And three other dishes, oh my.

                I need to go back very soon. :-)