Chinese Import

The best (and cheapest) Shanghai-style food

I was less enamored of the unusual stir-fried Shanghai rice cake, served with thin noodles and vegetables. The sliced cake had a chewy, gelatinous texture, and little taste. I was also not fully convinced by the green onion with dry shrimp braised noodle; there were plenty of onions and noodles, but not much more. Certainly there was no hint of shrimp.

For a sweet finish, although we'd eaten almost to the point of pain, we tried the long, barely sweet crullers called Chinese doughnuts, which, as well as the fried bread we'd started with, were testament to the kitchen's skill: light and almost greaseless. We also had a dish called sweet sticky rice ball in rice wine, soft dumplings filled with bean paste floating in an extremely alcoholic sweet broth.

Shanghai prices: Ten of those steaming babies for just $5.25!
Paul Trapani
Shanghai prices: Ten of those steaming babies for just $5.25!

Location Info


Shanghai House

3641 Balboa
San Francisco, CA 94121

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Richmond (Outer)


831-9288. Lunch Monday and Wednesday-Friday 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.; dinner Monday and Wednesday-Friday 5:00-9:30 p.m. Open Saturday and Sunday 10:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Closed Tuesday. Reservations accepted for parties of six or more. Wheelchair accessible. Parking: street, fairly easy. Muni: 2, 31, 38. Noise level: low to moderate.

Silver threaded roll $4.25

Vegetarian goose $4.95

Dry chicken wings $7.50

Braised meat ball $7.50

Braised fish with wine sauce $9.95

Chinese doughnut $1.50

3641 Balboa (at 37th Ave.)

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Five of us had enjoyed a feast for about $30 per person, tax and tip included. (Caveat emptor: Shanghai House is cash only, but, as with the convenient source of alcohol, there's an ATM less than a block west.) Top candidates for a future visit, given the perfection of most of what we had: cold plates of drunken chicken, five-spice smoked fish, spicy beef, stewed pork with vegetables, the order-ahead pig knuckle with brown sauce, steamed fish with black bean and chile sauce, and the irresistible, slightly mad-sounding crab's "chevllenge." Why did I not ask what that was? I think I was too distracted by what was on my plate.

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