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Three new chef's special items at Shanghai East San Mateo

KK | Apr 29, 200605:19 PM

Had a wonderful quick dinner at Shanghai East last night in San Mateo.

Glad to see them open again, and yes they are closed every Tuesday.

Noted a small plaque/sign on each table, all written in Chinese (and not very legible). There were three new dishes labeled as "chef's specials".

Ordered one of them, which was winter bamboo shoots with salty Chinese ham and large green beans (dszam dou, no idea what it is in English). Wasn't sure what to expect, but this dish was very nice. Sadly it was overwhelmingly beans with very little bamboo and ham. The beans were really big, were very soft and tasty after stir frying. The ham they used might be Virginia ham you can get at Chinese supermarkets, had a nice crunch to it, and was salted just right. The bamboo was a bit tasteless, but nonetheless added some interesting texture to the whole dish. This combo came out very well and went well with steamed white rice.

My mind is muddled at the moment, and I can't remember the other two dishes on that small specials list. One of them had sticky rice in it, along with an item that was not common to combine sticky rice with.

Curious if Oakland and Berkeley locations have these offerings too.

Also ordered the menu item of dried tofu gan with pork strips stir fry (xian gan rou si), very standard typical Northern Chinese dish you can get anywhere. I really like this version as you can taste the heat from the kitchen, and a few dashes of white pepper from the table enhanced the flavors. Wasn't feeling terribly adventurous with the other dishes, so just stuck with what worked.

Finally the XLB, what's a trip to Shanghai East and not order these. The juice/soup inside these things with this order seemed to be a little less flavor and more oily texture-wise, but was still great. I really appreciated the fact that they used black vinegar with ginger as the dipping side sauce, as opposed to white/red vinegar at some other restaurants.

Can't wait to go back again. :-)

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