Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Nanxiang Steamed Buns Restaurant, Huangpu, Shanghai

Nanxiang Steamed Buns Restaurant, Huangpu, Shanghai
Tuesday 9 May, 2006

Located inside Yuyuan markets and near the entrance to Yuyuan Gardens, this is quite possibly the best dumpling place on the planet. The queues outside (takeaway) are legendary and long (and I mean long) but here's a hint - take the narrow staircase up to the 2nd floor. It is still busy, but you can sit down and eat and enjoy the views back over the markets and gardens.

I was here 12 months ago and loved the experience. There is a counter at the top of the stairs (on the left) with a menu on the wall. If you can't read Chinese you have buckley's of understanding the menu, however if you want dumplings they come in serves of 15 or 30 and they are very, very cheap. 15 dumplings may sound like alot but believe me, once you start it is virtually impossible to stop. It is not uncommon to see each table return to the counter to order another round - they are that good! It doesn't help that no-one speaks English, however it is all part of the experience. As personal space is a premium here, it is not uncommon for locals to stand over your table as you try to eat your meal.

This time around I discovered a new area on the 2nd floor that is a more upmarket restaurant - still attached to Nanxiang Steamed Buns Restaurant. Instead of turning left at the top of the stairs go right. This leads you along a corridor to another 2 large rooms of seating where you are handed menus (with English translation) and provided with table service. For a little extra this provides a welcome change to not having a clue what is going on around you.

So, let's talk about the dumplings...the Chinese refer to dumplings as snacks and they have over 100 years' of history. They are known for their thin, translucent wrap, heavy flavor, and tender meat and are the size of a small water chestnut.

Here is a tip for eating this delicious snack - bite carefully, sip the soup and dip into Zhenjiang vinegar. If you are too keen and take a bite quickly the soup will squirt all over you and you will burn the roof of your mouth (like I did ....2 years in a row). I enjoyed the crab dumplings and also the pork dumplings but they also come in beef and vegetable. I also love the way they provide with a small dish of shredded ginger to enjoy - I'm not usually a fan of ginger but in small doses it is divine.

The best thing about this location is that all the shops are still open when you finish dinner. So, what better way to walk off those dumplings...

Nanxiang Steamed Buns Restaurant - L2, 85 Yuyuan Road, Huangpu, Shanghai - 86 21 6355 4206


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