3319 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9412137.775825 -122.494519
Open Mon,Wed-Fri 11am-9pm; Weekends 10am-9pm
Neighborhoods: Outer Richmond, Northwest
Will NEVER eat here again – When I first heard of shanghai dumpling king I was ecstatic. Being shanghainese myself, I grew up loving the cuisine and especially the dumplings. Naturally, the name "shanghai dumpling king" brought me into the establishment bright eyed and bushy tailed. The first time I ate here, I came during opening time. I went with several friends and the first thing I noticed in the place was the cold, cramped environment of the restaurant. Even the employees wore scarves and long jackets to keep themselves warm. The tables are set literally 4 inches away from each other and trying to move is a definite no no. They even lined the halls leading to the restroom with tables so one can enjoy the sound of the toilet flushing when eating. And btw, the rest rooms had no toilet paper and were filthy.
We ended up ordering eight orders of shanghai dumplings and a "vegetable melody" dish. Being shanghainese, I know the importance of good shanghai dumplings. These were ABSOLUTELY not good. They were cold, dry, and would break and spill all the juices when I would pick them up. It wouldn't surprise me if they were leftovers from the night before. The "vegetable melody" dish was equally disappointing and consisted of ten pieces of broccoli and some celery. When it came time to pay, the employees force CASH payment only. Despite this experience we still tipped 15% and were on our way.
My second experience will be the last time I EVER eat at this restaurant or recommend it to anyone. When I arrived, the waitress looked me square in the eye and asked me how many people I had in my party. I told her and she told me to wait. I stood patiently behind a group of six individuals and waited. About twenty minutes later, the group of six was called and they requested her to give them a round table since she had one available. She told them "NO" sharply since those were "reserved" and sat them in a compressed 4-person table. She then grabbed a dilapidated clipboard with freehanded lines and read off the names of a party that had arrived after me. They quickly told her that I had been first but she still seated them anyways. I continued to patiently wait. The next group was called and came in even after the previous one. They told her that I had been waiting first in line as well, she seemingly brushed it off and scolded me to sign in. I told her that she had told me to wait but I didn't sign in. The people that were to be seated told her to seat me first as well because I had been first. Despite BOTH of our efforts, she still seated them. I looked at the guy in line and he told me under his breath "that's just wrong." At this point I walked out of the restaurant and found somewhere else to eat.
In conclusion, I am quite disappointed with the service I received at this restaurant. The food was poor-mediocre at best and the environment is cramped, cold, dirty, and windy (I know, somehow the wind gets in). I would NOT recommend this restaurant to anyone.
Excellent Dumplings – You're here for the dumplings. My s.o. and I had a couple of soups that were dull. (I think the Shanghai style soup just reuses old dumplings.) Anyway, skip the soup; you're here for the fresh dumplings. These aren't those bleach-white steamed buns filled with a thin layer of mystery meat; no, the dough is a pleasant gray that makes me think of brown rice, and it's nice and chewy; the filling is substantial and flavorful; the dumpling as a whole is fresh and hot. The last time I had a dough product this good at a Chinese restaurant was when I was eating thick, housemade noodles at Panda's (not to be confused with Panda Express) in Seattle.
Why take a chance on something else on the menu that probably won't be much different from your average Chinese restaurant? Have three orders of fantastic dumplings, and take a few home for the kids.
Lives Up to the Hype – The xiao long bao of course is the highlight at Shanghai Dumpling King (SDK), with good reason. I haven't tried enough places to rank SDK's preparation, but the dumplings were of the right consistency and contained sufficient soup inside. Make sure you ask for more sauce.
The Beijing Style Boiled Chives dumplings were what I expected -- not overwhelming in taste, but not too greasy.
The two nice surprises were two desserts: Long Life Peach (red bean paste in soft peach-shaped steamed buns) and Red Bean & Banana Rice dumplings (tubular desserts dusted in coconut and peanut sprinkles).
This is how inexpensive the place is: Immediately adjacent to us a table of six young men were having a dumpling-eating competition. The baskets of dumplings kept coming through the night, with each basket containing 10 dumplings. When we left, the leader was at six or seven baskets himself!
I loved this place – I was in San Francisco on work, decided to stay a couple extra days to see the city, and someone told me I should check this place out. The place is small, quaint, kinda noisy, but good atmosphere. Kinda a whole in the wall. I arrived at 8:15pm and it was packed, people waiting (a good sign). I got 10 Shanghai soup dumplings, hot and sour soup, and the garlic pulled pork. The girl asked me, is that all ?? like maybe that wouldn't be enough food!!! I was shocked when the hot and sour soup came out. It was in a giant bowl (like this $4 soup was going to be my whole meal -- it very well could have been). I am a hot and sour soup junkie, and I really liked theirs. It wasn't extremely thick like some, very good flavor, ingredients. Then the dumplings came out, in the same size bowl with broth. The dumplings were outstanding. By this point in time, I was looking at these two giant bowls, almost untouched, thinking how good it was. And then the garlic pulled pork came. I have to rave about that too. All kinds of peppers and veges perfectly cooked with pork in a delicious garlic sauce. But I barely got through a 1/4 of that and I was full. I left with a $18 tab -- and to go boxes -- 1 qt hot and sour soup, 1 qt dumplings and broth (neither one completely fit in the 1 qt container -- I left some behind on each). And a chinese to-go box of the pulled pork. Some things don't reheat well, and I thow them away. Not the case with any of this food. All delicious the next day. Next time I return to San Fran, this is on my list of places to go again.
Horrible service along with the food – I've eaten at many Chinese places -- restaurants and dim sum joints. But I have never been more let down by a restaurant than at Shanghai Dumpling King. After reading all the positive reviews, my bf and I decided to go there. I ordered the lemon chicken lunch special and he ordered the kung pow shrimp, and then we also ordered egg rolls. The service was okay, but not that good. We were seated close to the bathroom, the service was slow, especially when we wanted to get our check. Now about the food: 1) the egg rolls were way too greasy, and tasted like burned wax paper; 2) the kung pow shrimp had absolutely no flavor with the minimal amount of spice; 3) my lemon chicken was barely covered in any sauce and tasted like raw egg; and lastly 4) the steamed rice -- now how can any chinese place mess that up, right? -- well, it was super sticky and tasted weird. I couldn't even finish my food or the egg rolls, i took it to go, but decided that i won't eat it and threw it away. This place is over rated. On 35th and Balboa you can get great dim sum, and on Balboa btw 37th and 38th avenues there is Shanghai House which has never once disappointed me. I strongly recommend the other two places over Shanghai Dumpling King.
Great dumplings, dive-y atmosphere – Let's face it, you don't come here for the decor. This is not a fancy place, by any means. However, the dumplings.....absolutely delicious! They are a really good deal; a huge portion for $5. The spicy won tons are also delicious. I found the green onion pancakes not as crispy and delicious as I have had at other establishments, but perhaps that's just my taste.
Very friendly atmosphere, great food, just don't expect tablecloths.
Good Shanghai Dumplings – The Shanghai dumplings here are very good. They give you 10 steamed dumplings for $4.95. It's even better than some of the (xiao lung bao) Shanghai dumplings found at dim sum restaurants. The dumplings have a strong ginger flavor filled with meat and broth. The green onion pancakes were doughy, didn't have enough green onions in it and weren't crispy enough. The pancakes were huge, cut into 7 or more large pieces, a bargain for $4.95. The place is a hole in the wall with several small tables in the front room and larger tables inside. The staff is friendly.
great dumplings – Great Shanghai dumplings - nice and juicy; comparable to those you get in China. Green onion pancakes are also very good.
the best Shanghai dumplings EVER – I went there on the recommendation of fellow citysearchers and I LOVED their Dumplings! They were oh-so delicious! I had the pork ones and the beijing ones. I loved that sauce that comes with it too. I also ordered pork & veggie noodle soup and loved it. It was dirt cheap too! we ordered 3 dishes plus sweetened soy milk and the total was only $16! What a steal!
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