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Sep 7, 2012 11:34 AM

Shanghai Dumpling King [SF] - Is it going downhill?

I ate at Shanghai Dumpling King last night (Thursday), and had the worst meal I've ever had there—by far. We were there on the late side, but the restaurant was still full when we arrived, so not too late. The last time I was there was back in March, and things were great then:

Not so much this time.

Sauteed pea pod leaves were undersalted and a bit tough. They also didn't seem super fresh. They weren't bad, per se, but definitely only average. In the past, vegetables were always great here.

Sauteed rice cakes w/ preserved vegetables and pork were super oily and not good. The rice cakes were sort of tough - tasted like they weren't freshly cooked, but had been sitting around, and then sloppily heated up in the wok with oil. Hardly any preserved vegetables, and little bits of pork were pale and flavorless—all they did was add a chewy texture.

Xiao long bao - The filling was too sweet—more so than I remember. The meat also didn't hold together very well. But worst of all were the wrappers, which were too thick on the top...they felt doughy to me, while previously they've always been thin and delicate.

Sugar puffs - These were a tad greasy on the bottom—more so than usual. But these were the most on-par with past experiences. But after such a greasy disappointing meal, we weren't so excited about this dessert either.

I'm hoping that this is a fluke, and that things will be back to normal when I go next. But should I be finding a new spot for great Shanghainese?

Dave MP

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    1. post from Soupcon about change in ownership is gone? maybe blog link? but sounded like the answer to your question.

      the blog post was from April so after your last visit.

      2 Replies
      1. re: drewskiSF

        This thread in Feb 2011 reported a change of ownership at Shanghai Dumpling King.

        1. re: drewskiSF

          Yes, the former owner moved to Millbrae to be with his wife, who was running SDS in Millbrae. The actual ownership change took place at the end of 2010, but there may have been later kitchen staff shuffling as well, since no real alarms were sounded until earlier this year.

        2. went a couple years ago and not impressed. kingdom of dumpling is far far better

          5 Replies
          1. re: vulber

            vulber, that is the relatively small place on Taraval, right?

            1. re: Dave MP

              Dumpling Kitchen is on Taraval, but is actually decent sized. As someone pointed out to me, Kingdom of Dumpling is a tiny one.


              1. re: hyperbowler

                I usualy dont bitch about cheap, small places, but I went back to KINGDOM OF DUMPLING on TARAVAL and it kinda sucked.

                First, I thought I was breaking new ground for me and going to the one I had not been to before, but I got DUMPLING KITCHEN confused with the KINGDOM and ended up at KOD for the ~4th time.

                The dry fried green beans were very good. One of the best executions I've had. Everything else was average to bad.

                XLB: good structure, but hardly any taste. Agreed to by the other CH poster at the table.

                Soup: My friend who called the broth "dishwater" was exaggerating, but only slightly. It was pretty bad, and not really that hot. I was missing the much better soup broth at YAO MING BEIJING RESTO.

                Beef Tendon app: just a notch above ice cold, and not that tasty.

                Green onion pancake ... this was ok, esp with the hot sauce.

                Pan friend dumplings ... these were ok, but did taste a little doughy/undercooked, but I am not expert, having only had this 2-3 times and was mainly concerned not burning my mouth.

                The actual steamed dumplings, pork+chive and shrimp ... I suppose the werent bad, but I was kinda irritated so that may have affected by judgement (I picked the place so I felt "responsible").

                They also forgot one item, garlic boy choy. Not clear if we were charged for it. We should have gotten the salt+pepper tofu, which I remember with appreciation from the time I was there with a VEGAN.


                Maybe by posting this, I'll remember to go to DUMPLING KITCHEN next time.

                1. re: psb

                  Dumpling Kitchen
                  1935 Taraval Street, San Francisco, CA 94116

              2. re: Dave MP

                yes - quite small.

                although they have a commissary on noriega where you can buy their frozen dumplings to take home and cook yourself, about half the cost and all the flavor (and probably better ambience).

                that being said, their non-dumpling menu is still delicious.

            2. Was there about two weeks ago, pea shoots were good, XLB and red oil wantons were acceptable.

              1. We and another CH went there a couple of years ago and were totally unimpressed. I can't remember what all we had but the XLB were a deal killer. I remember the thick wrappers and the fact that there was literally no liquid.

                1 Reply
                1. re: c oliver

                  They always seemed to have an inconsistency problem. I've been there when the dumplings were 100% full of liquid and ~40% full of liquid.

                  It would be nice to hit all of the Shanghainese places at one point, if only to get their names straight...