Shengjian, or pan-fried pork bun, is a popular street food from Shanghai. Cooked just like fried dumplings, shengjian are sizzled in oil on one side in a flat pan, until golden brown and perfectly crispy. The other side remains soft. But while fried dumplings are crescent-shaped, shengjian are round, stuffed with pork and encrusted in sesame seeds and scallions.
What do you need to know before ordering?
What makes shengjian so addictive and yet, so tricky to eat, is the scalding hot pork broth, which surrounds the juicy meat filling. Eating shengjian properly is an acquired art. If you bite off too much of a chunk on top, the juice will come squirting out (not to mention, burning your tongue). So the trick: bite a small hole and slurp out the juice.
Best place for shengjian…
No one does shengjian like Xiao Yang. The restaurant is Shanghai’s most popular location for shengjian.
But don’t expect anything fancy: it serves your dumplings in badly chipped porcelain bowls, which you will take along to the main dining hall of battered communal tables and stools. There is also only one other food item on the menu apart from shengjian, a beef curry soup.
54 Wujiang Road, Shanghai. No telephone. It also does not accept credit cards, but you probably don’t need it – a plate of dumplings will set you back about 75 American cents.
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