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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Food @ Shanghai

A trip to Shanghai is not complete without tasting its famous dishes: xiaolongbao and shengjianbao, unless you are vegetarian or you cannot eat pork that is. I had several attempts of "genuine" xiaolongbao and shengjianbao during my stay at Shanghai. I must admin I was a bit addicted to these local food.

Yummy Xiaolongbao and Shengjianbao at Shanghia

There are of course plenty of other choices. These two are famous for their unique shapes, tastes and presentations. Furthermore, they are at absolutely affordable prices (very cheap in deed) and in snack servings. You would have plenty of stomach spaces to taste other food.

Xiaolongbao 小笼包 at Shanghai, China

Steamed pork dumplings, Xiaolongbao or Xiao Long Bao (小笼包 in Chinese), literally means buns in a small basket. The locals referred to them as "Xiaolong". They are not really buns, rather, they are small dim-sum type steam dumplings with a thin skin. Most xiaolongbao are made of pork with juice (soup) locked inside the thin skin. They are usually cooked and presented in the same bamboo made basket. If you can careful pick them up with chopsticks without breaking the skin, you will see its soup through the starch based skin. It would be best if you let the xiaolongbao cool down just enough (not too cool) and put the whole dumpling into your mouth. Beware of the hot soup inside!

Shengjianbao 生煎包 at Shanghai, China

Fried pork buns, Shengjianbao, Sheng Jian Bao (生煎包 in Chinese), literally means pan fried buns. The locals referred to them as "Shengjian". They are much thicker (but softer) skins than Xiaolongbao. The meat inside is usually pork and the whole bun is marinated and flavored in a uniquely tasty flavour. The key to tasty shengjianbao is to fry it with plenty of oil!

Yes, I did try food other than Xiaolong and Shengjian in Shanghai

What's the difference in tasting Xiaolongbao in Shanghai than at your local "Chinese" restaurant? They are ten times better in Shanghai. They are properly made using the right ingredients with proper equipment in Shanghai. The skin is thinner, the meat tastes better and the juice are juicier! How about Shengjianbao? Again, the meat tastes better, the skin is softer and it smells better. You have GOT to go to Shanghai in China and try these.