So, there are these little dumplings all over the streets of Shanghai. They are called shen jiang bao, and they are more buns than dumplings. Fried doughy buns filled with juicy pork and fabulous soupy broth. I don’t know the names of any of the places that we ate, because they were just little holes in the wall with lines out the door. They are all over the place.
Look at those little buns just waiting to get all fried and crunchy.
Steamer baskets full in the windows of little shops.
Cover and shake, then let them sit so the bottoms get golden and the juice is searing hot.
A sprinkling of black sesame seeds and all that it needs ia a quick hit of vinegar.
AAAH MAAHH GAAAHHH SO GOOD. The dumpling dough absorbs the flavor so much better than thin soup dumpling dough. The bottom is crispy and contrasts with the dough and the juicy pork within. Every dumpling is slightly different – softer, harder, juicier, meatier – but they are all absolutely delicious.
The restaurants that offer these dumplings are very casual and often run out of them by early afternoon. They are mostly a breakfast or lunch food.
Find some staff who seems nice and point to what other people are eating to order. That’s what we did.
These long ones had the best ratio of meat:dough that we experienced in China. And this is one of my favorite meals of the trip. It was consistently delicious, fun, and SO CHEAP. 4 of us ate like kings for $5 per meal. Apparently they are available in NYC, but not to the same level of amazing-ness. Shen jiang bao – don’t miss them in Shanghai.
*Quick note: New Taste of the UWS is this weekend. This fabulous event covers 3 separate dining experiences and festivals with celebrity chefs and food from all of the UWS greats. The tickets are pricey but the proceeds all go towards beautifying and generally improving the neighborhood. My choice pick is Best of the West, but these are all winners! Get tickets here. This blurb is not sponsored.*