June 27, 2012

Great UM Noodletown: Shanghai Dumpling Shop (Millbrae)

by Kayoko Akabori


After all this talk of fancy dining, 4-star service, Le Bernardin and the lack thereof, I’m bringing it all back to what we’re all about: SOUL. Umami Mart is all about love and sharing and laughter and how food plays a great role in that in our lives.

Yoko and I had an errand to run in South San Francisco, and we decided to try Shanghai Dumpling Shop in Millbrae, right near the airport. It’s a bit of a wasteland of eateries around SFO, but Millbrae is hoppin! I had read they make great soup dumplings (xiao long bao aka XLB), so we could not resist.

We started with the ‘drunken’ chicken. As I’ve mentioned before, I am a sucker for steamed chicken — it is super cheap and delicious. ($5)

The anise flavor was too strong here and the sauce in general too salty.

Sauteed green beans with garlic. So neccessary.

I really love vegetable dishes at Chinese restaurants. You really get a sense of deep understanding the cooks have about oil and frying methods. These are like candy.

Chive and pork dumplings, boiled.


You get a nice plateful of steaming handmade dumplings for $6. Incredible.

DSCN0545.JPGJuice bomb! I love the combination of chive and pork. But these paled in comparison to…

… the XLB!!!


We ordered the pork, without the crab. They gave us soup bowls for the ginger/soy/vinegar sauce. Pretty much the dreamiest $7 EVER. That’s $0.70 per dumpling!!!


But I file this post under Great UM Noodletown because of the Shop’s dan dan mien:


I dream of this specific dish from the Shop often. Bits of ground pork and thin, hand-pulled egg noodles swimming in a spicy/ sesame/ miso-like soup. This noodle soup blew my mind. It was spicy yet sweet and full of so much SOUL.

I won’t lie. I do like having a white-table-cloth fancy dining experiences once in a while. But we don’t generally write about those experiences here on Umami Mart cause it’s such a bore. The big heavy white plates, the silly sauce streaks, the dainty morsels. We’ve all seen that — on tv, in magazines, on the INTERNET. Like Moto mentioned, maybe a part of me likes the occasional fine dining meal it for its exclusivity — to say I’ve been there too. And to say that I did it and didn’t like it? That’s a luxury in itself.

But deep down, the only thing I really want after one of those over-priced, stuffy dining experiences is a hot bowl of noodles. It is also the only thing I crave when I am traveling abroad. I’d be ok living in Great UM Noodletown forever.


455 Broadway
Millbrae, CA 94030
T: 650.697.0682

One Comment

  • Kim
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    …an answer to my prayers! can’t wait to try the dan dan mien @ shanghai dumpling shop as i’ve been looking for a good bowl of “tan tan men”, since the place i usually go to changed ownership and their tan tan men just isn’t the same :( thank you!

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