Monday, September 17, 2007

It's me again... and I'm addicted to the Shanghai Flavor Shop

Wow, I've been stuck in Germany for awhile. If you haven't figured it out, I haven't been in Europe for some time now. While I wish I lived there, alas, I don't... at least not yet. Peculiar things happen to me whenever I go to Europe. One would think I'd become completely food obsessed when back home, but that doesn't seem to happen (hence my 3 month plus hiatus). Before I went to Italy a couple of years ago, Italian food was my obsession. I was so sure that there was a mix up and instead of being born in Korea, I should have been born in Italy. Well, I came back from Italy, and completely lost my taste for Italian food. It wasn't because the food was so terrible. In fact, the food far exceeded my expectations in every way. Thus, I just couldn't stomach the Italian food in the States anymore. Granted, at the time, I was living in Kentucky. It's not exactly known for its Italian excellence.

Anyway, that wasn't quite the scenario this time around. While I did experience some remarkable meals, I wasn't blown away each and every time. I'm sure it had a lot to do with hopping around from country to country for short periods of time. By the time we made it back home, I was ready for a break from food. I wanted to eat simple things from my own kitchen again. And I didn't want to blog about any of it.

I'm a moody blogger, and sometimes I lose my voice for food. I'm not sure if I really have it back, but there are things I have been meaning to write about. One in particular is the Shanghai Flavor Shop in Sunnyvale.

Mr. Cupcake and I first visited this little restaurant shortly after coming back from Europe. It's tucked back in a shady strip mall along Wolf Rd. and Old San Francisco Rd. It's become one of my favorite go to restaurants in recent months for several reasons: 1. It's crazy cheap 2. It's crazy good. 3. Pan Fried Soup Dumplings. Need I say more?

Ok, I will say more. What's a pan fried soup dumpling you ask? Well, it's a doughy little gem that encases a soft pork ball and delicious soup. The dumpling is pan fried on the bottom, so it has a nice crispy crust. It's a lovely contrast the rest of the soft, doughy casing.

I've had steamed Shanghai dumplings (XLB) in the past, but I've never had anything like this. It's definitely unique, and from what I've read it's one of the few places in the Bay Area where these are made. My only complaint is that the soup levels can be inconsistent. Most of the dumplings are relatively juicy, but occasionally the soup can be little to nonexistent. It's not enough to keep me away by any means. I should also add that every time I've been, the dumplings have been served fresh.

While the dumplings are the main attraction, there are many other things on the menu. Actually, we have a tendency to order the same dishes over and over again. This includes a whole lot of dumplings and the Shredded Pork and Noodle with Green Onion Sauce.

The pork is sparse, but once mixed together, there's an abundant amount of flavor. Thus, I can forgive the limited amount of pork. Soo adores the veggie and pork wonton soup. She says it reminds her of her grandmother's dumplings. I'm pretty sure that someone sits there in the back, and puts together these dumplings by hand. On a couple of occasions, I've seen a little old lady walk up to the front with a tray full of the little dumplings.

Shanghai Flavor Shop is a total hole in the wall, but well worth the venture. If you're looking to blow your latest paycheck, it will be hard to do here since the most expensive item on the menu appears to be the $10.95 prawns. Most items on the menu are less than $6. Definitely stop by if you're in the area and try the pan fried soup dumplings; you won't be sorry. And if you are sorry, well, take one for the team and eat them anyway.

Shanghai Flavor Shop
888 Old San Francisco Rd.
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
(408) 738-3003
Lunch: 11am - 3pm
Dinner: 5pm - 9pm
Closed Monday


Chris I said...

Why oh why can't Shanghai Flavor Shop be open on Monday. It is my number one issue with them! Other than that, the food is delicious and cheap.

laz said...

My favorite thing about the flava shoppe is playing the "match the hieroglyphics" with the english/chinese menu and the associated chinese only order sheet.

The dumplings are good stuff, but sometimes I think I prefer steamed dumplings. Also, I think they could improve their menu by adding my Mom's rice pudding for dessert.

sooiepoo said...

next time we go we should just play "order surprise" and mark random "hieroglyphics" ar, ahem... chinese character menu items. i'm sure we'd find more items to be enamored with than our same 4 dishes.