Stellar meal at Shanghai Dumpling King - Outer Richmond, SF
I ate w/ two dining companions at Shanghai Dumpling King tonight - I hadn't been here in a long time, and I was very impressed with this visit. Everything was good.
Xiao long bao - Smaller than the ones at Sunny Shanghai, and still maybe not quite as good (for me) as the ones there or at Shanghai House.....but still very good, and different. Less broth, but the meat was more tender and flavorful. For me, it's kind of like comparing winning twenty $10 bills, ten $20 bills or four $50 bills. Each might look and feel a bit different, but overall awesomeness is actually the same.
Pan fried pork buns - The filling is very similar (maybe identical?) to the XLB, but without the broth. The outside is thicker and browned at the bottom. Also rather small compared to the same dish at other Shanghainese places, but these are really really tasty. I might have liked them better than the XLB.
Bean curd sheet w/ edamame and preserved vegetables - An excellent rendition of this dish. At Shanghai Dumpling Shop in Millbrae this dish is too dry, but here it was served in a bowl with plenty of broth. Nice garlic flavor, generous portion. Highly recommended.
Mu-Shu pork - Nice char to the pork and veggies, and a good flavor even before combining with hoisin sauce. Some of the best mu-shu I've had in SF.
Egg puff pastry - This dessert is really excellent, and I feel sad that it took me this long to find out about this! Three large balls of puffy, fried, eggy dough coated w/ granulated sugar. Delicious. I probably could have eaten three myself, but I had to share.
After dinner we drove to the Sunset to get bubble tea at Wonderful Foods - one friend had the fresh honey dew smoothie which was very nice, and I had my usual green milk tea.
All in all, a great evening in the Richmond and Sunset. Shanghai Dumpling King will definitely be back in my regular rotation.
re: Dave MP
Completely agree re xiao long bao--meat very flavorful and the wrappers are thin with just enough chew. Last visit (4th of July) we boldly ventured beyond our usual three courses and tried the "crispy eels"--huge tangle of fried eels, each about 4" long, circumference a little larger than buccatini (what a wonderful surprise--I have never had them in this small size, all the more surface to enjoy), fried to a delicate, non-oily crunch with a gorgeous savory sauce that brought out the eeliness. Fabulous dish.
Nice report. I haven't had a bad meal at SDK yet. Definitely on my "will stop if near by list".
Besides the XLB, my favs are the Shanghai noodles in peanut sauce and the preserved pork (ham) and green in steel pot (not sure of the exact dish names...sorry)...both peasant food at its best and I like them so much I always order both with usually 3 orders of XLB (with at least one other diner).
I thought the Lion's head soup was very good but you sort of need a large(r) crew to eat it unless you want a lot. On my list is the onion/scallion pancakes.
Two (tiny!) women at the table next to us were sharing about 5 dishes, and one of them looked like lion's head soup. We also saw another table with the scallion pancakes, which looked great, though we ultimately decided not to order them.
Like David, I loved the donuts (called "suger egg puff" on the menu), the xlb, and the pan-fried pork buns. I did not like the texture or flavor of the bean curd sheet--probably the dish, not the rendition, was simply not my cup of tea.
The mu shu pork was very good, though I think I've had a better homemade version.
About this restaurant, I also like how friendly the staff are. It's a bustling little place, and at 7 p.m. on a Sunday we had to wait a little bit for a table, but the convivial atmosphere was much appreciated.
Don't be fooled, those tiny women can pack it away! For the record, if it's 3-4 people dining I'll get the lions head. With only 2, it cuts into on the XLB order...and it's sorta in the same range as the peanut noodles.
You're right about the pleasant nature, both the staff/owners and the customers seem to be a similar vibe...very little pretense. People waiting always seem to be happy and asking other tables what they ordered is usually greeted nicely. Sadly you don't see that as often as you'd like in SF.
My little trick to to go to Simple Pleasures Cafe across the street for coffee/tea afterwards. Nice old school cafe that's been around for a long time. Nothing special food/drink wise but has a similar low key comfy/funky vibe. I have those two linked now.
Another "must" on the menu is cucumber salad - kissed with minced garlic and sesame oil.
Sauteed eggplant is also prepared very well with nice vinegary finish, large portion
Thanks for the report! I've tried and liked every dish on your list except the Mu-Shu Pork, so now I know what my next new dish will be.
,,,from a previous post...
,,,, 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..!