Dumpling Era on El Camino Real joins the wheaten stronghold of Millbrae/San Bruno. The chef is from [ed. Hebei], and the menu is northern dumplings and noodles. The paper menu I ordered from had eliminated some of the more unique items initially offered, like thom yum xiao long bao, but the items I had were well made enough that I’ll return in a month or so once they finalize.
On a rainy Tuesday, everything happened in the back, but I think they make dumplings and noodles in view of the patrons during busier times.
The basic model of Xiao long bao were very good, small, structurally sound, infussy not fatty broth, solid meatball. Clearly made to order, skin thicker than some other places, but not in a way that detracted from this being good stuff.
Northern Chinese (brown) version of Zha jiang mian come with lots of meat sauce and a choice of thinner or wide (allegedly) hand pulled noodles. Wide noodles were more al dente than most wide hand pulled noodles, and they were certainly very long. Not sure whether the noodle machine behind the counter help make these.
Fried tofu appetizer had a crunchy coating and was quite good. Spicy seasonings included what I believe were battered chopped up fresh chilies.