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Chowdown Report: Little Shanghai in San Mateo

lrealml | May 12, 201511:16 PM     10

Tonight we ate at Little Shanghai in San Mateo. There were 9 of us.
What we ate:
Fried Puff Bean Curd with Black Mushroom - Too sweet.
Pig’s ear with 5 spice sauce - Great; you can’t go wrong with pig’s ears IMO.
Steamed Meatballs (Reservation Required) - Not impressive. I don’t know why this is an advanced order dish as it seemed super simple and bland.
Sweet & Sour Spare Ribs Shanghai Style - Great complex flavor. I wished my pieces were fattier, but a really good dish overall.
Crucian Carp in Onion Sauce - Pretty good although not memorable.
Jiao Hua over Chicken (Reservation Required) aka Beggar’s chicken - The vegetables were amazing, but the chicken was unremarkable and of low quality.
Salted Pork w/ Bamboo Shoots Casserole - This was a basic soup. I forgot it as soon as I ate it.
Shanghai Fried Pork Buns - This dish seemed incorrect… like they fried some xiao long bao instead because they ran out of the buns. It was ok.
Gi Chai w/ Bean Curd Sheets - Unremarkable
Sauteed Loofah w/ Bamboo - Also unremarkable, but then we are rarely impressed by Chinese veggies.
Radish Pancakes - This was our favorite dish at Little Shanghai prior to this dinner, and it is still our favorite. It was very good as always with a nice hot pastry with a savory radish filling and toasted sesame seeds on top.
Pan Fried Noodles w/ Eel - Most of the noodles were soggy from the sauce… good flavors, but once again, nothing special.
Shanghai Style Rice Cake - These were nice and chewy and had a good char. I’m a sucker for chewy and carbs, so I really liked this dish a lot.
Red Bean Paste Pancake - Crispy and flavorful. We will get it again.

Overall we were not so impressed. Nothing was bad, but nothing was amazing either.

Thank you Hyperbowler for organizing this. Even though we weren’t really wowed by anything, we had a lot of fun. It was awesome talking with so many real serious foodies. Normally when we talk to people about food, we come off as a bit crazy (and sometimes a lot crazy)… but tonight our food craziness seemed normal :) .
Also, we went the whole dinner with out talking about work, startups, or any of the normal Silicon Valley stuff that dominates our lives… it was so refreshing. Thanks!
This was only Mike and my second chowdown, the last one being a whole hog dinner years ago at Incanto. We definitely hope to do more of these in the future.

Finally, thanks to Vincent Lo for the delicious longans, grapes, and the nice white wine.

I am sure others will soon post picture and more reviews.

Robin (with a bit of help from Mike)

Little Shanghai Restaurant
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