A few months ago, I stopped for lunch at Zen Noodle Bar in San Mateo. It offers a limited menu of Shanghainese specialties. Remember Sunny Shanghai in San Bruno, a board favorite for XLB that closed suddenly in 2012? https://www.chowhound.com/post/sunny-... After moving to the East Bay to follow their only child while she was a student at UC Berkeley, the owners have returned to the Peninsula to open here. That's the good news.
The bad news is: No XLB on the menu. The kitchen does not have an adequate hood and ventilation for large scale steaming.
So, I did a little tour of some Shanghainese classics. Vegetarian duck seemed a bit stale and it was super salty.
Shanghainese noodles were painfully salty too.
Things looked up when the sheng jian bao arrived.
Pan-fried bottoms were pretty dark. Tasty pork and modest amount of juices encased in the bready dough wrapper. Not a dish that I'd ordered at Sunny Shanghai before, but maybe some past fans can pass judgment on these.
Orders are placed by checking off on a plastic-wrapped paper menu. At the time, I was told that the menu was gradually expanding.
Some additional specials are available each day too.
Zen Noodle Bar
668 E 3rd Ave
San Mateo, CA 94401