I had heard so much about Jia Jia Tang Bao. So I took my friends who are new to town to try it out! Xiaolongbao, aka soup dumplings are Shanghai’s specialty and I was pumped about the so called best dumpling place in the city.
The place is small, old, and packed with tourists. Luckily we arrived early and avoided the lines. The décor is a standardized local restaurant with old tables and metal chairs. Vinegar and chili are provided in a jar on the table. The menu is rather simple with few choices of soup dumplings and soups. To order, you will have to go to the casher.
We ordered two different flavors: regular pork and shrimp. The dumplings arrived with a tiny sauce plates inside the steamer, which we found it funny (I guess they thought it would be sanitized with the steam).
After the first bite we looked up to each other with confusion on our face. (Note that we’re all Taiwanese and have high expectation.) I can’t say it’s bad, but definitely not THE BEST in town. The skin was on the thicker side yet it was fragile. When picking up with our chopsticks (carefully), some of them broke, but it was juicy with a good amount of fillings inside. It’s also freshly made which is also why you would be waiting for a bit after ordering. I would prefer the pork dumplings over the shrimp dumplings, but both were good. The dumplings were small in size, but with 12 of them you’d be full. The prices is VERY affordable too. I reckon this is more of a place for tourists who want a local experience.
- Price: Pork dumplings 18 RMB, Shrimp dumplings 28 RMB
- Summary: Jia Jia Tang Bao serves up freshly made soup dumplings with a local feel ambience. Affordable and tasty, it’s a great place for Shanghai’s famous xiaolongbao.
When a colleague told me that Jia Jia Tang Bao was THE famous place to eat xiao long bao –dumplings- in Shanghai and that even people from Hong Kong would come to queue for a meal, I thought he was exaggerating. I must say: “not at all”.
I went to the Huangehe road location on a cold rainy day to avoid making the line but still there it was, a long line standing under the rain. The house specialty is the pork dumpling, which of course it was sold out when I got there. A little disappointed we ordered crab-filled instead and crab mixed with pork. Did I say disappointed? Hell, NO! They were delicious and no kidding, the best ones I have had so far in China. Super juicy and tasty. Veeeery tasty. Of course, the ambience is a classical Chinese street restaurant: few seats, busy and bustling atmosphere, no heat, small tables, fogged windows, open kitchen cooking non- stop, people coming and going…It is an experience by itself.
If you want to try real homemade and fresh dumplings, certainly this is the place. Be patient to queue and to eat them…they come right away in the bamboo steamer from the kitchen to the table!
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