Dave MP really, really knows his Shanghai dumplings, and he thinks that the xiao long bao—soup-filled Shanghai dumplings—at Shanghai House are really good. These dumplings have improved: They are, says Dave MP, probably the best he’s had in the Bay Area, flavor-wise. The wrapper has a nice consistency, and the pork filling is sweet and delicious. He didn’t even dip the dumplings in sauce; their naked flavor is amazing enough.

Veggie dumplings are also really good: small, but filled with a tasty mix of mushrooms, greens, and veggies. Vegetarian duck is great, with a crispy outer bean-curd skin and gently flavored mushroom filling. Claypot with satay and clear noodles is a favorite, with a subtle satay flavor and tender hunks of beef.

SteveG always likes drunken prawns—shrimp cooked in rice wine sauce. Hand-cut noodles are also reliably tasty, with good wok energy.

And, a special secret: Xian doujiang—savory soy milk soup—is the best that Xiao Yang has had outside of Shanghai.

Rice cakes with chicken are not so good: flavorless except for a distinct taste of char.

Xiao Yang warns that, if you’re looking for orthodox Shanghai food, stick with appetizers, like dumplings and cold dishes. He dislikes the way the chef-owner takes “liberties with the Shanghainese canon, using a brown stock where a white one would be traditional, or pushing a sweet-spicy sauce too far to the sweet end of the spectrum. They may work well as Chinese food, but come off a little awkward if you are expecting orthodox Shanghainese food.” But for those of you who don’t care about orthodoxy, order anything you like.

Shanghai House is also a good deal, maybe a little over $10 a person. The service is pretty slow, though. It can take two hours to get through your meal. So go with an open evening, and pleasant friends.

Shanghai House [Richmond District]
3641 Balboa Street, San Francisco
415-831-9288

Board Link: Shanghai House in Outer Richmond–Report

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