Yet another damn good Shanghaiese Dumpling House in San Gabriel.
Sometimes you get in a mood, and you need dumplings.
I wish I could say that was the case, but it was curiosity that started this particular ride. I was coming out of Ajisen Ramen, after another bowl of premium pork comfort, when I looked up and spotted the place. It was there, sitting next to Liang’s Kitchen all this time, and I didn’t notice it? Shame on me.
Shanghai Dumpling House (I know, not exactly an inspiring name, but hey — it gets it’s point across) is every bit the very nice, very well appointed hole-in-the-mall (yes, I meant to type that) neighborhood joint Liang’s Kitchen is. It’s even got a TV on, running nothing but TV from the homeland. It doesn’t have a lot of seats, but it’s comfortable, and more to the point, the Dumplings are dang good.
I have to admit, to even the seasoned Chinese Food, go-into-any-new-place-at-any-time eater like myself, the place looked a little intimidating. There was a big display on the wall, in nothing but Chinese (I’m presuming Mandarin, since this is a Shanghaiese joint). All the picture displays in the window where showing off dumplings (of which I am totally familiar), but the ads were written in Chinese. Even a caution sign on the door was written entirely in Chinese. Is this too inside even for me? Am I not welcome here? Do they not want my business?
Hell no. I’m C.C. Tu’s Godson for pity’s sake. (Plus, as I’m sure the Proprietors of Shanghai Dumpling House would be the first to remind me…my money’s still green, so…get your butt on in there.)
Besides, I didn’t notice the Yelp! sign on the door until I walked in. My bad.
So let this be a lesson to you (and to me), that door you’re looking at, the one you think you won’t be welcome in? Odds are you will be. It’s a tough economy out there, and the owners of these place, they want you that seat. They need you in that seat.
So go get your grub on. It’s waiting for you.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Some of the folks on Yelp were more than helpful with suggestions, but I was eating for uno (une, odeen, one), so I didn’t get the avalanche of food they did. I started with the basics, the Juicy Pork Dumplings. They reminded me of the ones I had at Dumpling House. They were good, but I’d still give a slight edge to Din Tai Fung.
Whoa…Momma. Gotta have those.
I can see a crown of powdery chili pepper on each of the dumplings. Now these things were plenty spicy. They didn’t make me sweat, or burn out the roof of my mouth, but I was reaching for my Honey Lemon Green Tea an awful lot.
Oh, and I recommend getting the Honey Lemon Green Tea as well.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Two things. One, just know going in that a plate of Dumplings comes in groups of eight not ten like at Din Tai Fung and Dumpling House. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because the sixteen Dumplings I ate were about the right about. Four more, and I would have been splitting at the seams.
Also, the Vinegar is there, but the Ginger is not. That may be a Din Tai Fung thing. You’ll miss it, but it’s not a deal breaker by any stretch.
Also, there doesn’t seem to be a website for the place. If one is launched, we’ll try to add it here.
In the end, this is a good place for Dumplings, and it won’t get you as stuffed as Din Tai Fung or Dumpling House. You can bring a date here (It does look nice inside), but Din Tai Fung is still the better choice for a night out. What it boils down to is, where you are. If you’re in Arcadia, stop over at Dumpling House. If you’re in San Gabriel, come here. Because you never know when a dumpling craving is going to hit.
Pretty damn good. The complex where Shanghai Dumpling House is sits atop a massive Hotel, Shopping multi-story complex. There is plenty of free parking below. Two levels of it, in fact. There is a sign on Liang’s door, advising customers that some have been charged $5 to park in the garage, and to advise them if you are charged such a fee. In multiple visits to both Liang’s and Ajisen Ramen four doors down, I have yet to be charged anything to park at that complex. There is infrastructure to charge (a gate and all), but it has never once been down when I have visited the restaurant.
Shanghai Dumpling House
227 W. Valley Blvd
San Gabriel, CA 91776
Tel: (626) 282-1348
Daily (except Wednesdays): 7:00 am – 10:00 pm