Eat local: Shanghai dumplings at Jia Jia Tang Bao, Shanghai, China

People_s Square (viewed from the top of the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall), Shanghai, China

People’s Square (viewed from the top of the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall), Shanghai, China

 

One of the very popular local foods in Shanghai that are well known around the world is the so-called “Shanghai dumplings.”  These steamed marvels are very difficult to make, as the dough, filled with minced pork, or a mixture of minced pork and crab meat, or pure crab meat, etc., is twisted around the filling and then a little broth is added before the dumpling is twisted close.  To eat them after they have been steamed, you place the dumpling onto a Chinese soup spoon that already has had a little burgundy-colored vinegar and picked slivers of ginger root added to the bottom.  Then, 1-2-3, it’s into the mouth all at once (be careful when they are served, as they are steaming hot); biting on the dumpling dough releases the soup and then you have a wonderful combination of the soup, filling, and steamed dough, with a touch of vinegar and ginger all coming together in you mouth.  Delicious when well made!

 

Each Shanghai dumpling is made by had by this hard working staff at Jia Jia Tang Bao, Shanghai, China

Each Shanghai dumpling is made by had by this hard working staff at Jia Jia Tang Bao, Shanghai, China

 

Thanks to Google Maps on my Google Pixel phone, we left the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall at People’s Square and had only an 8-minute walk to a total hole-in-the-wall, local Shanghai dumplings ONLY restaurant that was recommended by fellow travelers and where not a word of English was spoken by the staff — Jia Jia Tang Bao, on Huanghe Road.  Luckily one of the locals in line with me at the cash register (at the front when you enter the tiny space which has, perhaps, seating for about two dozen diners — they also sell a lot of take out!) was able to explain that the hanging red banners with Chinese characters on the wall were the “menu” of what was still available for purchase.  With our friends we got a couple of steamed baskets of pork and crab Shanghai dumplings, one of all crab dumplings, and some seaweed soup, with the obligatory Tsingtao (local) beer.  For about US$32 the four of us feasted like kings and queens.  Our lunch was quite tasty and it was a great experience to be the only “big noses” in sight on the street and in the restaurant.  Of course, when a fight broke out at a nearby table at the restaurant (two couples were arguing over who could claim 2 seats at a community table – the last two seats in the restaurant) we were mesmerized and also a little scared, as we couldn’t tell if the extremely loud five minutes of arguing would culminate in a fist fight on the spot.  Luckily the hot-headed guy’s girl-friend pulled him away and back to the entrance to await some open seats.  Some friends on the ship who had lived in China subsequently told us that this arguing is rude, but not atypical.  We had not expected live entertainment during lunch…

 

The baskets of Shanghai dumplings are steamed to cook them, Jia Jia Tang Bao, Shanghai, China

The baskets of Shanghai dumplings are steamed to cook them, Jia Jia Tang Bao, Shanghai, China

 

What the fuss is all about – wonderful pork and crab Shanghai dumplings, one dozen per steam basket, Jia Jia Tang Bao, Shanghai, China

What the fuss is all about – wonderful pork and crab Shanghai dumplings, one dozen per steam basket, Jia Jia Tang Bao, Shanghai, China

 

To accompany our dumplings we also had seaweed soup, Jia Jia Tang Bao, Shanghai, China

To accompany our dumplings we also had seaweed soup, Jia Jia Tang Bao, Shanghai, China

 

4 thoughts on “Eat local: Shanghai dumplings at Jia Jia Tang Bao, Shanghai, China

    • We had previously had Shanghai dumplings (soup dumplings) at Din Tai Fung in Shanghai which are excellent — they’re regarded as the number one tourist locale for the dumplings. These were on a par, but the experience of eating in a totally local dumpling “joint” was terrific. The argument just added a lot of local “sauce” to the experience! And Jia Jia Tang Bao is top rated among the locals…

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    • The dumplings go by either name — soup dumplings or Shanghai dumplings. They are extremely popular in Shanghai and across China and Taiwan. Note that Din Tai Fung now has outlets across Asia and even in San Jose, CA, near San Francisco!

      Liked by 1 person

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