July 30, 2015
Shanghai restaurant is our go-to in Oakland Chinatown for meetings and hang-outs over lunch or dinner. The food is consistent, always fresh, delicious and everyone on staff knows us. It’s a nice, no-frills local joint where you probably won’t run into anyone you know. Hooray!
Yoko went to Shanghai recently and lavished our humble blog with photos of its exquisite cuisine. I don’t know how Shanghai restaurant in Oakland compares to the food in its namesake city but I sure would like to imagine that it is not too far off from this. And I thought it might be time to do a dedicated blog post about our favorite eatery in Oakland — within walking distance to Umami Mart!
Malantou, served with a plastic spoon (always) is our trademark opening dish. Upon sitting down, our gentleman server will always ask: “malantou?” YES!
This dish is somewhat of a secret — it is not on the menu and Yoko only asked about it randomly because she recognized it as something her grandmother used to make. It is a cold appetizer with tofu bits and a blanched green that resembles parsley.
Green onion pancakes are always crisped and seasoned to perfection.
Yoko and I go in during all hours of the day for a food break and the owner lady is often sitting at a table, hand-rolling dumplings. She is really fast and methodical, it is a wonder to watch her.
The xiao long bao here are probably the best in the East Bay and I would enter them in a competition for the entire Bay Area. They are juicy and the skin is fresh and bouncy. The paper napkin laid on the bottom, in lieu of say, cabbage, always makes me chuckle. It is a sign that they prize function over all else!
They sell an array of their dumplings to take home frozen so you can make them yourself. They are great dinner-savers. The “Shepherd’s wontons” are also excellent.
We always get a noodle dish. Most often it is this noodle soup with pork and pickled vegetables:
Here’s a nicer photo of this dish. Sometimes we’ll veer off of the noodle soup and get the Shanghai-style lo-mein (pan fried, thicker noodles) or the noodle with sesame sauce or dan dan mein (both cold dishes). I believe all their noodles are hand-cut, it is not to be missed.
If I go for dinner, I’ll always get the Shanghai-style prawns. My absolute favorite and a real treat — they look like jewels, but better. Cause you can eat them.
And some fresh greens with garlic sauce:
I honestly don’t think we’ve ever had a bad meal here and I bet we’ve been here at least 50 times. Those are excellent odds. It’s always relaxed, good times with comforting eats. I asked Yoko about her thoughts on our special place, and whether or not the food actually tasted like what it is in Shanghai proper. Here is her response: “Shanghai Restaurant is like the Tom’s Restaurant or Central Perk of Umami Mart. It’s where Umami Mart staff eat, gossip and unwind. It’s a spot that always has a spot open, but is rarely empty. It’s a spot where the menu never changes and the price is right. It’s also a spot where the servers and chefs know their regulars. There are many things about Shanghai Restaurant that don’t feel like we are actually IN China (first of all, everyone understands English), but there are also a fair amount of things that could convince me that we are in Shanghai. It’s fast, unpretentious and has plenty of 马兰头香干 or malan tou on hand, a vegetable and dried bean curd salad that my grandma used to always make. Shanghai Restaurant is our little spot in Oakland. And even though they don’t actually know our names, they remember what dishes we want to order every time. And in my book, that’s even better than bothering with names.” We’ll probably go here for lunch today. Join us! SHANGHAI RESTAURANT 930 Webster Street Oakland, CA 94607 T: 510.465.6878