Shanghai is known for its xiaolongbao and its close relative the shengjianbao. Both are a type of soup dumpling that are typically made with pork. Xiaolongbao’s are delicately steamed while shengjianbao’s are pan fried.
I’ve lived in Shanghai for over 2 years and have had tons of xiaolongbaos but had not yet tried local shengjianbaos. It was definitely time. There was only one thing left for me to do. Head to Yang’s Fried Dumplings….
Shengjianbaos are typically eaten for breakfast or sold by street vendors throughout the day for a snack. I’ve never actually seen them on a menu in a restaurant.
This place can be overwhelming for rookies so here are some tips I gathered:
Tip #1: Buy something to drink at the All Days convenience store and bring it with you. Trust me.
Tip #2: Arrive early. Before hungover party people in Shanghai roll out of bed. We got there around 11:30 am on a Sunday. There was already a line out the door and no place to sit.
Tip #3: Wear comfortable, light weight clothing. This place is small with only a few tables. Any small crowded place in China with a kitchen attached to it will be hot.
You can peak into the window and see them all working vigorously:
Here they are in the pan being fried on one side before getting flipped:
Tip #4: Never ever go alone. Bring a friend. After you place your order and pay, you will get a ticket. The next logical thing would be to pick up your order. WRONG! Side tip: Never be logical in China, always be smart. Fried things are always more delicious when enjoyed hot. Don’t get stuck staring at your food getting cold while waiting for a seat. This is where you and your friend split up. You go stake out your seats. Don’t worry it’s not rude to stare or wait behind someone to passive aggressively pressure them to hurry up and eat. Once a table leaves you sit down and use your drinks to claim your space. You might need to share a table with a stranger. Your friend should take the ticket and wait in the second line to pick up your order from the small window connected to the kitchen. Now you have a place to sit and eat and your shenjianbaos are hot off the press!
We ordered 5 each for RMB 4 (that’s $0.63 for 5). Look at how perfectly fried these are. Topped with sesame seeds and scallions. You also could get a side of soup but I wanted to focus on the shengjianbaos.
Here’s a close up:
You can dip into vinegar and some hot sauce. I think Sriracha would be a nice addition.
Tip# 5: Don’t eat it in one bite. Bite a small hole and let some steam escape. If you don’t the soup will squirt out and you will burn yourself. Sad face.
This is my friend Vicky! Last tip: Smile 🙂 You just ate shengjianbaos like a boss!
These were the best shengjianbaos I’ve ever tasted…for the first time ever in my life …ever today….er….well they definitely lived up to the hype! Although they are good for a special treat and probably not the healthiest for everyday snacking, it’s definitely a must try! Soo good!! Great place to take visitors too.
Yang’s Fried Dumplings used to be sold from a street vendor along with other street food on Wujiang Road. They’ve since cleaned up this street to make a shopping area/pedestrian street and sadly the yummy street food doesn’t exist out in the open here any more. BUT, Yang’s Fried Dumplings moved inside the mall on that street on the second floor (behind Nanjing West Road). With all the popularity, this restaurant is now a chain with several locations throughout Shanghai.
Yang’s Fried Dumplings | 2/F, Huang Pu Hui, 269 Wujiang Road, Shanghai China | +86 021 6136-1391