Have you ever had a “fry dumpling,” otherwise known as shen jian bao in Chinese?
Until I visited China, my only experience with this unique street snack was in Boston Chinese restaurants. The ones I had were usually normal big Chinese baos (pork filled steamed buns) pan fried so that they were a bit charred on the bottom. They tasted alright, but I never thought they were anything special.
Now I realize I just hadn't ever tried a real shen jian bao.
In Shanghai, after finishing two delicious steamer baskets full of xiao long baos (Chinese soup dumplings) from Jia Jia Tang Bao, we hopped across the street to sample the famous Yang’s Fry Dumplings (小杨生煎).
It’s really fun to visit Yang’s because you get to watch them make the shen jian baos right in front of you. A guy pan-fries dozens of baos in this HUGE wok-like pan, sprinkling in various things like water, oil, or sesame seeds throughout the process.
The whole process takes about 10-15 minutes. Between batches, the line of hungry customers slowly but steadily grows. The moment the baos are done cooking, a server doles out the freshly cooked baos to the hungry guests, who anxiously carry away bags of this stuff to work, home, or wherever they are headed.
We didn’t really have a place to sit, so we just stood on the street and devoured these little delectable baos.
Gahh!! These baos were filled with SOUP! Can you believe it?
Just imagine . . . a hot, steaming bun filled with a juicy soup-filled porky center, complete with a perfectly crunchy wok-seared bottom. It was soooo satisfying and soooo good.
Yes, definitely messy to eat, but totally worth it!
We didn’t try anything else here (we were still a bit full from the xiao long baos), but I’m pretty certain this is by far their most famous and popular item. It’s worth the wait for the fresh ones, plus it’s fun to watch them make it. Again, an order of six baos only costs around $1 USD . . . such a steal for something that is eons better than any version I’ve had in Boston.
Yang's Fry Dumpling has multiple locations throughout Shanghai. We went to the one at 97 Huang He Road (right across the street from Jia Jia Tang Bao) within walking distance of People's Square.
Yang's Fry Dumpling
97 Huanghe Lu
This is part 8 of the China Series detailing my recent trip to Beijing, Xian, and Shanghai.
Other posts in this series:
part 1: Wander the Streets of Beijing
part 2: Xian'r Lao Man (Dumplings)
part 3: Made in China (Peking Duck)
part 4: Noodle Bar
part 5: Bao Yuan Dumpling
part 6: Da Dong (Peking Duck)
part 7: Jia Jia Tang Bao (Soup dumplings / xiao long bao)
China: Lost in Translation
Happy Birthday Bryan: an Ode to Noodles and Ducks
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