Shanghai Xiao Chi

It’s easy to miss this hole-in-the-wall restaurant with its generic name and bland red awning, but Shanghai Xiao Chi serves up tasty Shanghai dishes on par with that of better known Shanghai restaurants such as Mei Long Village.

Shanghai Xiao Chi: Kao FuWe started off with a traditional Shanghai appetizer called kao fu. The kao fu was soft, chewy, salty and sweet. It was a bit on the sweet side for me, but its sweetness reminded me of the type of kao fu I used to eat in Shanghai. Sometimes it’ll come with some wood-ear mushroom and lotus root, but this version at the restaurant was mostly wheat gluten and light on peanuts and pieces of mushroom.

Shanghai Xiao Chi: stir fried green beansI like ordering stir-fried green-beans at Chinese restaurants because it’s hard to replicate the dish’s texture with our home stove; the flame just isn’t big enough. These stir fried green beans that we ordered were great. The outside had that puckered soft skin while still remaining crispy inside. The dish was heavy on garlic which made it all the more delicious.

Shanghai Xiao Chi: beef noodle soupI ordered the beef noodle soup (hong shao niu rou mien) which I didn’t really have high expectations for. It’s more of a Chinese comfort food and I was expecting something pretty ordinary; this was definitely ordinary. The noodles were a little on the mushy side and generic while the broth was light on the spices. The highlight of this dish were the perfectly seasoned and tender pieces of braised beef. The waiter had told me it was spicy before I confirmed my order, but when I had a taste of the soup, I didn’t taste any spiciness at all.

Shanghai Xiao Chi: nien gaoThe BF ordered rice ovals stir fried with Chinese spinach (ji cai chao nien gao). It’s not on the menu, but it’s a pretty traditional Shanghai dish, so we asked if they could make it for us, which they said they could. Shanghai Xiao Chi’s version of this dish was simple and comforting. The rice ovals were soft and chewy. I like my rice ovals to be more chewy than this, but these are good for people who prefer them more tender. The Chinese spinach tasted extremely fresh, which was surprising because I don’t think there’s anywhere you can buy fresh Chinese spinach. I usually buy them frozen in bags from the Chinese supermarket.

Shanghai Xiao Chi: xiao long baoNo visit to a Shanghai restaurant is complete without an order of xiao long bao. The meat in these xlb’s were flavorful, tender (probably because of the high fat content), and the broth was slurp-worthy. I think in terms of fillings, this place is the best I’ve had in the San Gabriel Valley. Unfortunately, the skin of these soup dumplings weren’t up to par. The main part was good, tender, and a fine thickness without being to thick or thin. The bad part was the top knot twist — too much dough resulted in a dry, chewy top. If they could get rid of the doughy knot part, Shanghai Xiao Chi’s xlb’s would be close to perfect.

The atmosphere of the restaurant is casual and most of the food is meant to be served family-style. There were a couple of dishes that I saw go around that looked promising. I can’t wait to take my parents, especially my dad who grew up in Shanghai, here for dinner. Having lots of people in your party is the way to go if you want to try out all their signature dishes. With our bill coming out to be about $33, including a to-go order of braised pork belly and tofu-knots, it’s easy on the wallet and tasty — my favorite combination.

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Shanghai Xiao Chi
828 W Valley Blvd
Alhambra, CA 91803
(626) 588-2284

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  1. Geoff says

    Great review! Is this the place that’s known as the “Wok and Noodle”? Or is it a new place in the same location?


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