Shanghai Gourmet, located on Pell Street, is one of the many Shanghainese restaurants in Chinatown. There’s Joe’s Ginger next door and Joe Shanghai down the block, but Shanghai Gourmet offers really good food with a more peaceful dining experience without the hoard of tourists that generally frequent the other two Shanghainese restaurants. Shanghai Gourmet is also the cheapest of the three restaurants, with a dinner special that offers 1 soup (enough to feed three), 1 order of soup dumplings, and two dishes for $16.95. The dinner special is enough to feed two. Trust me, I’ve tried it! All of the dishes are very good, but beware, the dinner special menu is only in Chinese!
We were on a bit of a time limit, so the boyfriend and I hopped on the train down to Chinatown for a quick lunch. We started off with their scallion pancakes. They come with four pieces, but the boyfriend snagged a piece before I could take a picture. The scallion pancakes were hot and crispy. At only $1.75 they’re a deal! If you eat the entire order, I guarantee that you’ll be full.
We then moved onto the cold sesame noodles. They come with peanut sauce on top, which you have to mix into the entire bowl. This dish was very tasty and had just the right amount of peanut sauce. The peanut flavor did not overpower the taste of the sesame oil that was already mixed in. The combination of peanut and sesame oil gave the noodles a very distinct flavor.
And finally, you can never go to a Shanghainese restaurant without ordering soup dumplings, or siew long bao. An order of soup dumplings comes in bamboo steamer. You get 8 pieces for the low price of $4.50. Next door at Joe’s Ginger, the same order will cost you around $7.
The Soup Dumplings at Shanghai Gourmet are around the size of a dollar coin. They’re the perfect size because each dumpling can fit comfortably inside your mouth. Other restaurants serve bigger soup dumplings that can become difficult to eat in one bite, which causes soup to drip all over the plate. The dumplings at Shanghai Gourmet were just the right size and had the perfect soup to meat ratio.
If you’re in the mood for some good soup dumplings and don’t want to pay a lot, I would definitely recommend Shanghai Gourmet. The food is good, the service is fast and best of all, it’s super cheap.