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
by Hana Asbrink | My latest haul. Welcome to Chow...
by Dan Koday | You ever notice how a great marinade can instantly elevate what otherwise would end up as a pretty...
by Eric Silverstein | By Eric Silverstein Chef Eric Silverstein is the founder and owner of The Peached Tortilla in Austin...
Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes and more, sent twice a week.