Nanxiang Steam Bun Restaurant in Shanghai’s old town is more than 100 years old serving the city’s most iconic dumpling, the xiao long bao. Regardless what time of day you visit, you will always see a long queue of people queuing up for these dumplings.
The restaurant is set over three floors where each floor varies in terms of decor and service. The bottom floor is for takeaways, which most people who are queuing are queuing for this, and of course these would be cheapest priced dumplings. I would recommend you skip the first floor and opt for either the second floor or the third floor. Just a word of warning, the higher you go the better the service, decor and more expensive the xiao long bao will be.
Most of the restaurants you will be able to see the dumpling chefs at work producing the xiao long bao’s round the clock to supply on demand.
Pork Xiao Long Bao – the skins on these dumplings are thicker than those of Ding Tai Fung, and is perhaps middle of the road thickness. They are juicy but did not have as much juice as I had hoped for. Best eaten while they are still hot. When they get cold the skins get a bit tough.
Pork and Crab Xiao Long Bao – the skins are the same as per the pork xiao long bao’s. With the inclusion of the crab roe in these xiao long baos, alters the flavour slightly. Perhaps more decadent, but remains to be well balanced. The crab xiao long bao are best eaten during hairy crab season in October-November. As the crab roe is more fresh.
These are not the best xiao long boa, but with the history behind it, it is one restaurant that you should experience if you have time.
Location: Various locations.
We visited: Shanghai No 1 FoodStore, 720 East Nanjing Rd