Sherman's Food Adventures: Full House Dumpling

Full House Dumpling

Originally, we were going to hit up some eats in Berkeley once we made it to the Bay Area.  However, with an SUV full of our precious belongings, we weren't too confident in leaving it parked for a few hours on the street.  Hence, we decided to head straight to my aunt's house in Fremont.  That way, we could drop off our valuables and then go for some eats.  As always, we ended up going for Chinese in the form of Full House Dumpling (at least we weren't going to eat here 3x straight like Pearl Bay).

The thing to get here is, of course, the dumplings.  Specifically, we are talking about their Xiao Long Bao (Juicy Pork Dumplings).  We got both the regular ones and the Crab Xiao Long Bao.  I thought these were excellent featuring fairly thin dumpling skin that had some elasticity.  There was plenty of soup to be found inside which was clean and sweet.  I thought the essence of crab was apparent.  The pork filling for both was tender and moist while not crumbly.

Sticking with dumplings, we also ordered the Shrimp Pork Siu Mai.  Somehow I was thinking Din Tai Fung when I saw this on the menu.  However, it really was just Cantonese-style shrimp siu mai.  So no, these were not XLBs with a shrimp plugging up an open top (maybe it was something else on this menu).  These were okay with a fairly loose, yet tender pork filling.  There was a bit too much green onion in it, which didn't make much sense.  The shrimp had a nice sweet snap though.

Moving away from dumplings, we tried their Water-Boiled Fish served in a clay pot.  Typically, this is a Szechuan dish, but it appears the Full House serves a variety of Chinese cuisines (including their main focus - Taiwanese).  Although not particularly Szechuan-like, their version was quite delicious regardless.  It had good spice while not being burning hot.  There was no shortage of tender fish fillets (probably basa) that were flaky.  

One of the more under-the-radar items was the Salted Egg Yolk Silken Tofu.  Each cube of tofu was fried just enough to retain its shape while still being silky in texture.  It was carefully wok-tossed (so nothing broke apart) in salted egg yolk, garlic, green onions and peppers.  Although not really all that salty, the aroma and essence of salted egg yolk did come through.  The nuttiness and also the rest of the ingredients were evident.
I wasn't really sure why I was ordering Spicy Stir-Fried Cabbage but it was a pretty solid dish.  Despite some moisture at the bottom of the plate, there was still decent caramelization due to ample "wok hei".  Hence, the spice from the chilis did announce itself throughout the dish.  However, there was still the natural sweetness of the cabbage coming through.  Also, the cabbage was still crunchy despite being cooked through.
One of the more average items was the Braised Beef Noodles.  Now by looks alone, this was quite good with lots of braised beef and wide thick noodles.  Indeed the noodles were al dente and well-portioned.  However, the beef was a bit chewy and lacking impact.  The soup itself was a bit too mild for my liking as it lacked depth and was rather one note.  Possibly if this was the spicy version, it would've been better.

Now on the other hand, the Garlic Pork was very impactful.  That garlic sauce on top was potent and I wouldn't go near anyone with that garlic breath after eating it.  I personally thought it was fantastic despite some thinking it was too garlicky.  There was enough salt and sweetness to make the sauce complete.  As for the sliced pork belly, it was a touch chewy given that there was a decent amount of fat.  However, it was still easy to eat.
I'm not particularly fond of the Green Onion Pancake, but Viv loves it, so yes we had that too.  Turns out that she should've not ordered it because it was also rather average.  On the positive side, it as nicely browned with a crispy exterior.  There was also a balanced amount of green onion.  However, the pancake itself was rather dense and chewy.  Furthermore, it was pretty much soaked with oil, so every bite was far too greasy.  

For no other reason than we didn't have any rice dishes, we ordered the Shrimp Fried Rice.  I would say this was an okay plate of fried rice.  There was decent caramelization, but the rice itself was more fluffy than nutty and chewy.  It was also rather bland needing salt.  At the very least, the shrimp were done right with a sweet snap.  Overall, the food at Full House was decent with some highlights, in particular, the soup dumplings.  Stick with those and you can't go wrong.
The Good:
- Soup dumplings are legit
- Reasonable-pricing
- Spacious seating

The Bad:
- Other dishes are hit and miss
- Service is hit and miss


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