Shikumen (Finchley Road)

Meal courtesy of Shikumen

Written by Reuben @reubenwee91, published by Steph

Historical Background


Shikumen, when directly translated, means “stone-framed door”. In a broader context, the Shikumen actually refers to a type of architectural characteristic that originated from Shanghai, defined by the stone walls and gates of a Shikumen house. Although shikumen houses are a  part of Shanghai, most of the Shanghai’s shikumen housing has been demolished.

overall-view-of-foodThe restaurant has applied some of this history onto its interior design: the black brick walls, intricate carvings of the walls and the wooden tables. Restaurant was decorated with random Chinese paintings and had a very simple layout. It was clean and service was quick and friendly.

The meal:

Xiao Long Bao, £4.50 for 3 pieces

xiao-long-baoI grew to love xiao long baos as I got older. The size of Shikumen’s xiao long baos were small, but that allowed you to put the entire bao into your mouth. I carefully lifted up the bao and dipped it into some vinegar and had it whole; the bao popped in my mouth and its rich broth burst out to the back of my throat. I was excited; my tastebuds were tantalised. I could not fault it, not even its size.

Yakitori Platter – Skewers of Beef with Crunch Chilli, Garlic and Sesame seed, Miso Marinated Salmon, Chicken Spring Onion, Bacon Wrapped Asparagus, Mixed Vegetables and Chicken Meatballs (£13.90)

yakitori-platterShikumen also serves skewers. I found the beef skewer the best out of the six. It was juicy and delicious, the chilli gave it a punch too. In fact, the chicken and salmon skewers were juicy and succulent too and were tasty indeed. 

Crabmeat and Prawn Dumpling (£4.20)

crabmeat-and-prawn-dumpling-2crabmeat-and-prawn-dumplingNice presentation and loved the salty pop of black ‘tobiko’ (flying fish roe). The steamed dumpling skin was thin and crabmeat and prawn were sweet and fresh. The tobiko gave contrasting texture at each bite; it was brilliant.

Prawn and Bean Curd Skin Cheung Fun (£5.90)


Really like the cheung fun. They did not flood the cheung fun with soy sauce as the intention was to keep the fried bean curd skin as crispy as possible. The prawns were fresh and I liked how they added strands of black fungus to give it some crunch to the soft cheung fun. I thought it was one of the most delicious cheung funs I had tasted.

Grilled cauliflower with black sesame truffle oil (v) (£4.90)


This had the strongest flavour out of the dishes served. The fragrant smell from the black sesame truffle oil and its incredibly thick and luscious sauce made it one of my favourites.

Scallop Siu Mai topped with Tobiko (£5.20)

This is actually one of my favourites too. The scallops were fresh; together with the prawns, they were perfectly steamed and came well as a combination.

Black Sesame Ball in Ginger Tea (£4.90)


The skill is there, the filling within the ball was kept intact and the ginger soup (tea) was actually good. I liked the fiery gingery taste.


Food is good, and should definitely order more of their dim sum when I visit the next time.

Slightly disappointed that they did not bring over the Musang King Durian Puff to the Finchley Road branch. That was one of the most anticipated dessert but it was not part of the branch dessert menu – you can try them out at the Shikumen Shepherd’s Bush (A must try, along with the Crispy Eel and Nori Cheung Fun)

overall-view-of-food-2Latest recommendation for classic dim sum with modern twists in London.


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