I normally go to the Shanghai Gourmet in Walnut Creek to get my Shanghai food fix, but this past Monday my uncle & aunt invited my visiting parents and me to lunch in the Ranch 99 mall. We started with a freshwater fish broth, don't remember the type of fish, but it is a river fish with lots of little bones, the elders seemed to know what it was. It was delicious, with shredded daikon radish and the fish was whole and fresh. The owner gave us a complimentary dish of this same fish, braised in a brown sauce (the restaurant is celebrating it's 10th anniversary). We then had the pan fried bao (shen jian bao), which were excellent. My dad ate 2, which is unusual. We also had scallion pancakes, a sesame flatbread (my uncle really liked this), spicy beef soupy noodles (sizeable portion), a choy with red fermented bean paste, wined fish slices with wood ear, shredded dry beancurd with pork (this was the weakest dish, not much flavor and the beancurd was not sliced into small enough slivers), and another tofu dish which was quite interesting: soft cubes of tofu, coated with a batter, deep fried and topped with a shrimp egg sauce. This last dish was heaven for a tofu fan like me.
I used to think that this branch was not as good as the one in Walnut Creek, but the entire meal was surprisingly good. On the way out, I bought some frozen pork buns (da bao), vegetarian duck and jellyfish salad which my kids love.