I’ve been looking for some good Shanghai dumplings in the Bay Area for some time. I think one of the best Xiao Long Bao places that everyone loves is Din Tai Fung, and every time I’ve gone there is always a painfully long wait. One of the first places I tried in San Francisco was Kingdom of Dumpling which turned out to be a little bit on the disappointing given the solid 4 star Yelp rating based off of 800+ reviews. Pdho and I decided to check out Shanghai House after DouZen suggested it. The Yelp reviews for Shanghai House didn’t seem as overwhelming positive in comparison to Kingdom of Dumpling, but Yelp has been known to be wrong as it turned out to be in this case. We ventured all the way out to the Outer Richmond which always seems like a pain, but that seems to be what we must endure to find real Chinese food.
The Green Onion Pancake was thin and didn’t have as discernible of a green onion taste, but as Pdho likes to say, “it’s hard not to like deep-fried dough.”
The Xiao Long Bao were a little smaller and there wasn’t as much soup inside the dumplings, but the filling was quite tasty.
With DouZen watching his caloric intake and Pdho always wanting to eat well-balanced meals, we ordered the Spicy String Beans. They were well-seasoned and had a nice crunch to them.
We were quite excited for the Dry Fried Chicken Wings (mainly because we were all imagining they might taste like San Tung’s chicken wings). Although these tasted pretty good, they were a little saucier and sweeter. We still enjoyed them, but they couldn’t beat the hot, crispy goodness of San Tung’s version.
DouZen had some craving for the hand cut noodles which was partially what brought us to Shanghai House in the first place. I think they come prepared in a soup or stir-fried, but we went with the latter. It was very good. The hand-cut shape gave an uneven thickness and shape to the noodles which was kind of interesting. It reminded me of chow fun noodles. The mix of vegetables and pork and overal seasoning was pretty typical, but I really liked this dish.
Overall, I think we were all very happy with the meal. The Shanghai dumplings were notably better than Kingdom of Dumpling, and the rest of the food was equally delicious. It’s no surprise that a lot of these “hole in the wall” Chinese places are located way on the other side of the city from where I live. It’s where the real Chinese people tend to live and eat, and the rent is significantly cheaper so you’re getting a lot more foodie goodness without such a high price tag.
3641 Balboa St.
San Francisco, CA 94121
PAFO Ratings for Shanghai House:
Ambiance 2½ stars
Food 3½ stars
Overall rating 3½ stars