Sunday, May 27, 2007

Nanxiang Steamed Buns Restaurant, Huangpu, Shanghai

Nanxiang Steamed Buns Restaurant, Huangpu, Shanghai
Sunday 27 May, 2007

If you choose one local food experience in Shanghai make sure it's Nanxiang Steamed Buns Restaurant. I love this place and part of my excitement about returning to Shanghai was to eat here. Having eaten here last year we were well versed with the process and system in place to obtain food and were introducing our new travel buddy to the joys of dumplings.
Widely regarded as Shanghai's best xiao long bao (pork-and-crab soup dumplings) Nanxiang Steamed Buns Restaurant is the place to go. Situated inside YuYuan Markets & Gardens you cannot miss the queue or eager diners. It's staggering to watch the queue grow for the takeaway dumplings - today we did a rough estimate of 75 people - patiently waiting (it's funny to think they can queue for dumplings so well but everything else is chaos - National Queueing Day has worked wonders!).
We bypassed the long queue downstairs and took the stairs to the 1st floor. It's still chaos and eager diners stand over your table waiting for you to finish up and move on. We bypassed this and climbed the stairs to the 2nd floor. There was still a queue (well, in fact 2 queues were forming) so we jumped on the end of one and asked the Aussies in front of us how long they had been waiting. They said 20 minutes.
Not prepared to wait 20 minutes and eager to adopt the Chinese way I glanced around the dining room and spotted a table for 2 that was vacant on the end of table for 4 that was full. I marched up to a waiter and told her that we would be sitting there. IT WORKED! It made me think of that saying 'if you don't ask you don't get'. We left the ever growing queue and received death stares from the Aussies still standing patiently waiting for a table.
We ordered a mix of dumplings - 1 basket of pork/ crab dumplings, 1 basket of pork dumplings and 1 x crab ovary dumpling. While we waited we picked at the dish of fresh ginger on the table and watched the kitchen visible through a glass window where about 10 staff were methodically preparing dumplings. Our food arrived quickly and we prepared our individual dishes of soy sauce with fresh ginger to dunk the dumplings in.
The food was exceptional and even though I knew I would burn my tongue/ mouth if I didn't slow down and drain the soup from the dumpling first....I did it anyway. If you suck out the soup first and then fill it up with the soy & ginger combination you will have a flavour sensation. It's sensational. I had ordered the crab ovary dumpling to see what all the fuss was about. Every table had one and it is a large dumpling about the size of a closed fist sitting in its own small steamed basket with a straw sticking out the top. I was really impressed.
After this feast - we paid $10 all up including drinks - we were ready to hit the markets.

Nanxiang Steamed Buns Restaurant - 85 Yuyuan Road, 2nd Floor, Huangpu, Shanghai - T: ( 86 21) 6355 4206


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