Sheng jian bao in the Bay Area

I remember the menu having fewer american bits. Let me try to snag one next time I’m grabbing some dumplings. But… I agree. A hodge-podge.

Maybe they have separate hard copy menus. It’s a not uncommon form of Chinese restaurant schizophrenia, to stack a lunch specials menu with Cantonese golden oldies that are nowhere to be seen at dinner time.

The Xiao Yang branch you saw in a new mall on Wujiang Lu is in the Huangpu River Building at 269 Wujiang Lu. It’s across the hall from a new Nanxiang Xiaolong Bao shop, and far too sterile-looking to be inviting, if you ask me.

I finally tried Shanghai Flavor Shop’s version this past weekend and the style isn’t my favorite, even though it is possibly the Bay Area gold standard. I prefer a thicker wrapper and more aromatics in the meat filling. They were very juicy and nicely browned, but I would have liked the crispy skin to contrast better with a breadier dough.

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A dish of these came out just as we were leaving! So we didn’t get to try them. They were somewhat flatter than many, browned only on the bottom but looked nicely crispy brown. This was yesterday 3/09 at lunchtime:

East Bay Saigon Seafood Harbor
3150 Pierce St, Richmond, CA 94804
(just before the Pacific East Mall aka 99Ranch Mall)

Sjb at Shanghai House (balboa @ 38th, SF)

good crunchy outside with varying amounts of soup inside. Had to wait 40 minutes for them to come out, though.

Those look great!

I revisited Shanghai flavor shop after a dull first visit, and enjoyed them this time. The filling tastes very similar to most xiao long bao, and the bottom was crunchy with some flexibility. There’s about 1/2 spoonful of soup and I found them easiest to eat by picking them up with my hands and sucking the soup
out.

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for one of the diners at my table, the soup squirted out of the bao and burned her forearm. not quite as fluffy as the ones i remember from Shanghai but i would definitely order them again.

the shop that I’ve visited most is the one by people’s park, just north on huanghe lu - also the ‘flagship’ - this location works out well if you have the stomach space for a SJB/XLB 1-2 combo by hitting up jia jia tang bao across the street, and of course, fight through the crowds: https://goo.gl/maps/notoxqk7bvF2

Oddly enough, I never had xiao yang’s until 2010. Instead, the few years I spent growing up in Shanghai, I only had them when visiting my grandparents on the weekends when they would just go out with a pot and bring it back filled with SJB and other Shanghainese breakfast goodies.

Finding SJB shops that are open all day are sorta tough imho since demand is often just during breakfast, especially when navigating inside neighborhoods - making SJB crawls hard, I think. Though my grasp of Shanghainese and Mandarin are probably just too poor to make it happen (including being able to read dianping…)

You are right, sheng jian bao is best at breakfast, accompanied by a bowl of curried beef and bean thread soup. THe picture below was taken at the original (now gone) branch of Xiao Xian Shengjian on Dongjiadu Lu. This branch may have moved to Yunnan Nan Lu, and there is another branch I’ve been to on Yuyuan Lu in Changning.

Chef Zhao Kitchen in PA on Bayshore ( Not to be confused with Chef Zhao in MV ) has SJB on-menu. Looking forward to reports.

with a crunchy bottom, fluffy bun, moist filling and sesame seed top, this resembles a sjb although on the menu it’s actually called shrimp toast (mister jiu’s, sf)

new place in Fremont that specializes in SJB. Li Yi Ji Shanghai Bistro. Chinese name- ‘Li Yi Ji Sheng Jian Restaurant’

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The pics look good, and the fact that they have curry beef soup (presumably made with bean thread) on the menu is encouraging- it’s a traditional accompaniment.

Unfortunately, it’s far from transit accessible.

Dumplings very good. Nice dark crispy bottoms with no burnt flavor. Good amount of Juice in most. Not super salty but well seasoned.
Curry Beef Soup was slightly spicy, lots of sliced tender shank, no Bean Thread .
Folks were super nice. They warned us about the hot soup in side and told us how to eat them.
They will be adding other Items after they settle in. They plan to stick to Shanghai Style Noodles and Dim Sum Items.
We thought is was great and will go again when we can.

From a construction standpoint, the SJB at Shanghai bistro are fantastic. The large meatballs are wrapped tightly, and there was a full spoonful of liquid within several buns. The bottoms were thicker than the tops, but without a disruptive tuft and they stayed juicy as I work my way through the plate. The flavor is ok, not exactly smoky, but reminded me a bit of hotdogs.

So, no need to go there just for that?

According to a teaser, China Live will have SJB.

We’ll find out soon enough.

Christopher St. Cavish followed up his epic Shanghai XLB endeavors with a history and classification scheme for SJB. He characterizes them is having two axes – – a crisp axis and a puffy axis. In addition to discussing the varying levels of leavening, including none at the popular Yang’s, he mentions A place in Taiwan that uses natural yeast for leavening and gives a tang.

It’s an illuminating article— very few local places have the characteristic deflation he talks about in the unleavened ones. The most common local time seem to be leavened with little free-floating soup. The puffiest I’ve encountered is at the Monterey location of shanghai dumpling King, which is not an SJB but a bleached white fluffy bao that they happen to pan fry.

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Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, Yuanyang County, Yunnan
Credit: inkelv1122, Flickr