189 El Camino Real (Near San Felipe)
San Bruno, CA 94066
Sunny Shanghai is a small family owned restaurant located in southern San Bruno along busy El Camino Real, not far from Asian Pearl Peninsula. People have said that this owner started this restaurant because he was unhappy with family members at Little Shanghai in San Mateo. Our last visit was in April 2011 when we upgraded their food rating, finding this place a high quality cheap eats restaurants.
Decor, Vibe – Sunny Shanghai has typical Chinese restaurant decor, nothing fancy here. Regulars of all ages were eating their favorite Shanghainese dishes making it full at dinner time.
Sunny Shanghai’s menu covers many areas from touristy Broccoli Beef to authentic Shanghai Cuisine including Dim Sum. They have additional items on weekends. The house special board on the wall in Chinese has many top dishes listed. The owner lady speaks English.
Shanghai steamed Pork Dumplings or Xia Long Bao ($4.95 for 8) were above average versions, with lots of robustly flavored juicy soup inside that tasted a little pungent. Nice tender wrapper. As good as nearby Shanghai Dumpling Shop, and better than Little Shanghai in San Mateo.
Pan Fried Pork Buns ($4.95 for 6) were better than most we have tried in the San Francisco Bay Area. Not fried as much as others, but juicy and tender skinned. Thick fried skin on the bottom and some buns have a little hot soup inside. Take a careful first bite. Better than highly rated Shanghai Flavor in Sunnyvale. About as good as it gets in the US.
Yang’s Fry Dumpling is the best we’ve had in Shanghai. Yang’s are freshly made and have a ton of soup inside their, unlike any place in the US. We asked Sunny Shanghai about this and they said their buns are made in the morning and set aside, so all the juicy is gone at pan frying time.
Style Fried Rice Cake ($6.25) was a good implementation of this classic Dish with nappa cabbage. Why do they call it Style? Good quantity and flavorful pork.
Turnip Short Cake ($3.50 for 3) was very crispy and had good flavor inside. On another occasion in August the turnip inside was out of season and pretty marginal. Try to order this in the winter.
Green Onion Pancake ($2.25) was very good. Not greasy, yet pretty crispy and flavorful.
Lion’s Head ($7.95) is done in the classic gravy style. 4 tasty HUGE meat balls made with egg, tofu, deep fried, then served with gravy and bok choy.
Sauteed prawns ($10.95) were stir fried de-shelled prawns but proved to be excellent. Fresh and simple.
Steam Rice with salted pork and vegetables ($4.95) was like fried rice without eggs and frying. Lots of veggies and good flavor. Some crispy bits of rice too.
Jizai vegetables with pork wonton soup ($4.95) had ten big meaty won tons that were a bit stiff. Good value at this price.
Jizai vegetables and pork soup ($5.95) was a large bowl of chopped up jizai, which looks like cilantro, along with tofu and a couple hunks of pork. Solid.
A-Choy vegetables stir fried with garlic were excellent.
Fried Fresh String Beans are another classic done very well here. Simple and crunchy.
Fried pork chops ($7.50) were lightly breaded and had a kick from the bundled onions and jalapenos.
Dong Po Pork ($10.95) is a classic Shanghai dish full of long boiled fatty pork. A bit too much star anise, but still a very good dish which comes in a cool bamboo pot.
Eight Treasure Sweet Rice Pudding ($4.50) was almost a home cooked version of this dessert. Not too sweet, nice glutinous rice and sweet bean paste.
Rice Roll ($2.25) is a sushi like roll of rice wrapped in plastic with some shredded meat inside. Flavors were ok but it seemed microwaved. They used to have a sweet version.
Shanghai Noodles ($6.50) were pretty average.
Crispy Duck ($12.95) was not tea smoked and lacked flavor. Duck seemed brined to a tender level, and was salty.
Song Sau Soup ($12.95) looks like hot and sour soup but does not possess the kick. Egg drop, diced ginger and more.
Sunny Shanghai is like a family home cooked meal as the place was pretty empty and the food prepared hot and fresh after we ordered it. Service was very good as no one else was around for much of the meal. On another occasion with a full restaurant, the one server struggled.
If you are looking for authentic Shanghainese cuisine, check out Sunny Shanghai. We recently returned from Shanghai, helping extend our understanding of Shanghai cuisine and found this place a sleeper hit. Do not come here for generic items like the General’s Chicken. The food at Sunny Shanghai is decent and priced well.
Check out our Fu 1039 Shanghai review for what real McCoy Shanghainese food is..