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.
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
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.
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