Diners enjoying their meal at Shanghai Dumpling Shop

Diners enjoying their meal at Shanghai Dumpling Shop

MILLBRAE, Calif.
The story: Shanghai Dumpling Shop is a no-nonsense Chinese restaurant in the heart of the little downtown of Millbrae, serving up Shanghainese food, including the popular soup dumplings known as xiao long bao.

Why I went: I love Shanghai soup dumplings and when I noticed fellow foodie Foodnut Instagrammed a photo of the xiao long bao at this little spot, I thought I had to go check it out. So I recruited my friend Jeanne and we drove down yesterday for lunch.

The vibe: The place feels like it’s been around for awhile, especially the plain facade in the front. Inside are filled with a lot of local Asians focused on eating, with food constantly coming out of the tiny window. This is your typical divey Chinese restaurant where service is brusque and the food straight-forward.

The menu: The plastic-covered menu with photos spotlights the often-ordered items and include many standards like the xiao long bao ($9.95) and a crab version ($12.95), shenjian bao or pan-fried juicy buns ($6.95). There are also typical Chinese dishes like claypot casseroles and stir-fry noodles.

Braised string bean ($10.95)

Braised string bean ($10.95)

My favorite dish: Of course, it was the xiao long bao. The steamer of soup dumplings were flavorful and filling. I enjoyed the flavor of the broth and the pork filling was easy to eat. The only fault I would say would be the skin could have been a bit thinner for me.

Insider tip: While the pan-fried juicy buns are one of my favorite dish to order (the buns are filled with soup just like xiao long bao), the version at Shanghai Dumpling Shop is just OK, and the bottom is barely pan-fried making them look like regular steamed buns. I would skip this dish because the buns can make you full and you should try other dishes, including possibly another order of xiao long bao.

The last bite: Shanghai Dumpling Shop offers up solid soup dumplings, but it’s a bit far for me. This is a great neighborhood Chinese restaurant but not necessarily the best soup dumplings in the Bay Area.

The rating: 2 out of 4 camera snaps

2-snaps

 

 

The deets: Shanghai Dumpling Shop, 455 Broadway, Millbrae, Calif. PH: 650.697.0682. Open daily 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. No reservations. Major credit cards accepted.

Shanghai Dumpling Shop on Urbanspoon

The window into the busy tiny kitchen

The window into the busy tiny kitchen

We wanted something light so ordered this plate of clams in black bean sauce ($12.95). The clams were big and juicy, but didn't seem super fresh.

We wanted something light so ordered this plate of clams in black bean sauce ($12.95). The clams were big and juicy, but didn’t seem super fresh.

Xiao long bao ($9.95 for 10 pieces)

Xiao long bao ($9.95 for 10 pieces)

Pan-fried pork buns ($8.95 for eight)

Pan-fried pork buns ($8.95 for eight)

6 Responses to A Review of Shanghai Dumpling Shop in Millbrae

  1. Foodnut says:

    Glad you made it out to Shanghai Dumpling shop.

    We’ve been obsessed with this juicy little dumplings and recently returned from Taiwan and Shanghai. We found the best Xiao Long Bao at Din Tai Fung Taipei 101, even better than Jia Jia in Shanghai. Unfortunately around here, the closest we get is about 80% of the way to Asia by visiting Din Tai Fung in So Cal.

    For Pan fried pork buns, Yang’s Fry Dumplings in Shanghai is to die for. Nothing close here.

    I just put up my review from our trip:
    http://www.foodnut.com/48175/din-tai-fung-taipei-101-taiwan/

    • Ben Ben says:

      I’m so jealous you get to get Shanghai soup dumplings in SHANGHAI! I’m surprised to hear that Din Tai Fung is the best in Taiwan. It’s definitely sophisticated and they have it down to a science, but I partly feel like it’s a chain because it’s open so many locations. But I still wouldn’t pass up on trying them! 🙂

    • dmo says:

      Funny because most people agree the 101 DTF location is probably the worst. The Sogo and Xinyi (OG) locations are significantly better. But even then I think DTF is just a tourist trap. I’ve found that there are better offerings out there. Crystal Jade for example easily matches DTF for XLB. Jia Jia as well as other Shanghai shops easily surpass DTF.

      • Ben Ben says:

        Thanks for your local insights DMO. I guess I’m going to have to go to Shanghai and Taiwan and test it out myself. 😉

  2. Carolyn Jung says:

    So Din Tai Fung still has the best XLB in your opinion? How I wish one would open in the Bay Area. A girl can dream, can’t she? 😉

    • Ben Ben says:

      Yes, I wondering what’s taking so long for Din Tai Fung to get here!? And it doesn’t even have to be in San Francisco if the rent is too high. They can totally open up in Fremont of Millbrae and I’d be happy to drive there! (Closer than Arcadia)