Mailbag: Shanghai Eats, Soup Dumplings the Best Way

Eric asks: you mentioned a couple restaurants here in Shanghai the last time I saw you – but I neglected to write them down.  We’re only here until Tuesday – traveling Rapid Travel style – but if there are one or two don’t miss restaurants, would love to make sure I don’t miss them. We love Chinese food, are fairly adventurous eaters (including the kids) and certainly favor good food over fancy environments.  Know a good place for soup dumplings?  My kids love them.

For soup dumplings the higher end Shanghai places always have them, then there are the local roll your sleeves up spots.

The steamed ones are xiaolongbao (小笼包).

The ones you only get in Shanghai have a crisp fried bottom, called shengjian (生煎). These I love and have never had authentic ones outside Shanghai.

Try both. At these places you will also see potstickers, guotie (锅贴).

Some holes in the wall are:

  • Fenggu Shengjian on Ruinjin Er Road by Nanchang Road,
  • Suzhou Noodle House on Yuyuan Road by Jiangsu Road,
  • On the streets around your hotel (Peninsular) you will see some like this, head south to the blocks between Nanjing Rd and Fuzhou Rd

Some of the classic local cuisine sit-down nearby are:

  • Yuan Yuan (by Xujiahui, take a walk in the grounds of nearby Radisson Blu Plaza Xingguo, it is the old compound of the Sasson-Kadoorie family)
  • He Ji (and other locations)
  • Shunfeng for Hangzhou food, Hangzhou iconic of neighboring province Zhejiang and part of the Shanghai-Jiangsu-Zhejiang food region (in People’s Square)
  • Shanghai Xiaonanguo (down the Bund by the old ferry terminal, and other locations)

Eric replied: Had an absolutely amazing meal at Shunfeng – my wife is hard to impress and she is still raving about it.  

We also found a spot to try both types of soup dumplings and while both were a hit with the whole family, I think the ones with the fried bottom are new (to us) and different and amazing.

Darn tootin! All you Din Tai Fun fanboys go to Shanghai, have shengjian and never look at xiaolongbao the same again.

There were others questions but now I am hungry. See you next week!

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  • Angie

    I love this post! You should do more of these China posts =) Adding these restaurants to my must eats list for when I finally make it to Shanghai! I need to learn mandarin first =(

  • Angie

    PS I’ve had the shengjian baos here in Chinatown and Flushing.

  • I am open to try new ones in Chinatown, maybe Flushing some day, what do you nominate? Any I have had that claim the name are more like the Cantonese ones, larger, more round, bread more think, less crisp on the bottom. The Shanghai ones have very thin bread on top and hard crisp on the bottom.