Jia Jia Tang Bao
90 Huanghe Lu, near Fengyang Lu
Best xiao long bao in Shanghai?
Jia Jia Tang Bao (佳家汤包) is a small but popular Shanghai steamed dumpling or Xiaolongbao shop in Shanghai. Our first visit was in 2010, our last in late 2014. In 4 years, the facade outside has improved, but we swear the interior is exactly the same.
Jia Jia has several locations (Dianping) but this one on Huanghe Rd near People’s Square is very convenient. There was a short line when we went there. The cheapest dumplings are also some of the most delicious but small pork dumplings. (¥13) Dumplings with egg are also available. Beware that they sold out around noon and only the expensive crab meat dumplings (¥99) because available. They open at 630AM, so dine here early!
Authentic Xiao Long Bao?
In late 2014 we made a pilgramage to a branch of Fu Chun (富春) – Dianping listing all branches, an authentic old school xiaolongbao restaurant. Modern day Xiao Long Bao should really be called Nanjing tangbao with the thin skin and lots of soup. The real deal at Fu Chun was meatier with a leaner filling, thicker skinned, and possessed not that much soup. They have several locations in Shanghai. Any real XLB enthusiast needs to understand what authentic XLB is.
Learn to take small nibble, slurp out the juice, then devour them. This is a great place to visit because across the street is a great Yang’s Dumpling restaurant, so do not eat too much. Jia Jia Tang Bao runs out of dumplings in the afternoon so come early.
Decor, Vibe – Jia Jia Tang Bao is a small restaurant with cramped basic cafeteria style decor. The restaurant was filled with locals enjoying dumplings. Definitely not as nice as Din Tai Fung or even Fu Chun. You get to sit after you order and pay. Don’t think about eating a Yang’s while here, they chewed our head off when we tried.
Jia Jia Tang Bao Menu
Jia Jia Tang Bao’s Menu has different kinds of dumplings, soup, and drinks. Shredded ginger in vinegar, essential, is 1RMB extra.
Signature Dishes – Xiao Long Bao or Shanghai Steamed Dumplings
Jia Jia’s Dumpling Ladies at work
Jia Jia Tang Bao Food Picks:
Pork Xiaolongbao (¥13 for 12) had a translucent delicate wrapper enveloping top notch very hot soup and pork. Clearly the staff here is not as consistent as their counterparts at Din Tai Fung. The steamer is angled and the dumplings sort of droop from the center. These are on the small side but still managed to have lots of soup. Of course these dumplings were hot out of the bamboo steamer. A dozen small dumplings adds up, so don’t order to many.
They do not use a cheesecloth, while Din Tai Fung does.
People like to argue on who makes best Xiaolongbao in Shanghai. It reaches of splitting hairs at this high level. This is definitely a contender and far better than anything in the US. We like Jia Jia’s version better than Din Tai Fung in Shanghai. Din Tai Fung in Tapei 101, Taiwan has truffle Xiaolongbao which we like even better!
Shrimp Xiaolongbao (¥10.5 for 12) had even better soup than the pork version. Very nice meaty interior. We would rank this dumpling extremely high.
Powder Crab Xiaolongbao (¥27 for 12) had a yellow top to indicate its crab powder ingredient. Not much soup but lots of meat inside. We would rank this number three out of the three we ate.
Real Crab Xiaolongbao (¥99 for 12) was definitely better than the powder version. Again, not pretty and inconsistent in appearance. Strong crab flavor in the soup, even had a piece of shell in there. Not as much soup as Din Tai Fung. Hairy Crab season runs September – November, so we probably got frozen crab in late December.
Jia Jia Tang Bao OK:
Beef blood soup, and Egg and Seaweed soup seem like afterthoughts to fill people’s bellies.
Jia Jia Tang Bao Pans:
Service – Jia Jia Tang Bao took about 15 minutes to get us for food, fairly slow but everything is made to order. The older man handling service joked around with us and let us go in the back to make the video.
Value – Prices are cheap with these high-quality dumplings, especially when compared to the US. The crab ones are pricey
Alternatives – Nearby restaurants include must go to Yang’s Dumplings. Handmade noodles at Lao Kele nearby are also hot. Authentic Fu Chun. Din Tai Fung has several branches in Shanghai. Also top rated are: touristy Nan Xiang Xiaolong Mantou, De Xing Guan, De Xin Guan.
Verdict – Jia Jia Tang Bao is a great place for low cost and high quality Shanghai steamed dumplings or Xiaolongbao. Little English is spoken.
Subway: Peoples Square. Cash only.
Chinese address: 黄浦区黄河路90号, 近凤阳路