Feast on authentic xiao long bao prepared by skilled Chinese chefs without spending the airfare to get to Shanghai. This restaurant is named for The Bund, a historic, waterside promenade in China’s largest city. About 6,000 miles closer, in the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown, the restaurant called Bund Shanghai is rated at the top of the charts by Zagat and TripAdvisor.
Xiao long bao is better known, and easier to pronounce, as soup dumplings. And they are savory, indeed. Did you know that Zagat’s recommendation for the best baskets of soup dumplings in San Francisco is based on opinion surveys of diners? OK, fair enough, Bund Shanghai actually comes in number two. But the service comes in number one and the price is about fifty percent less expensive than the place that pips it at the post.
Xiao long boa (or, XLB for short) is riding a wave of popularity in the USA. A basket of XLB can be ordered with a choice of fillings: pork with boiled cabbage, steamed shrimp with boiled chive, crab, beef, vegetable and more varieties. If you’re new to XLB, just ask to have a quick demonstration of the technique using chopsticks and ceramic spoon to get the hang of the art of dumpling eating.
On TripAdvisor, Bund Shanghai earned a 2014 Certificate of Excellence from hundreds of guest reviewers, clocking in raves about the Shanghai noodles, spinach with tofu, crispy Shanghai duck, fish filet in wine sauce, Mongolian beef and lamb, too. The regional Chinese menu sets this restaurant aside from many others in Chinatown, with its emphasis on Shanghai-style, rather than Cantonese dishes. Still, you’ll recognize lots of popular dishes such as spring roll and fried rice.
If you’re more accustomed to Cantonese food and Shanghaiese is new to you, grab some chopsticks and give it a go. As the family that runs Bund Shanghai can explain, those two Chinese cities are 750 miles apart, and there’s a world of difference in the kitchens. Chef has made it easy to study the long menu by placing helpful indications beside certain dishes to highlight ones that are popular, vegetarian, a chef’s special or spicy. A word to the wise...spicy means spicy, and how!
Welcome to San Francisco’s Chinatown, the nation’s oldest and largest. Look for Bund Shanghai’s front door under the yellow awning tucked in-between Cooper Alley and Wentworth Place. The 80-seat dining room sees plenty of regular Chinatown residents enjoying family meals at large round tables set with linens, on which a lazy Susan is placed for sharing dishes. Locals and visitors have discovered Bung Shanghai as well. Join them!