What is the most popular dish for both locals and tourist here in Shanghai? In my opinion it’s Sheng Jian Bao, in particular Xiao Yang Sheng Jian. During my lunch break at the food court, I find over 50% of the people here eat from Xiao Yang and so I went to find out why and have a try at this signature dish of Shanghai!
Before I came to Shanghai people have shown me pictures of this store, the original at least in Wu Jiang Lu. But when I got here I realised that it no longer exist as the street was renovated and filled with the modern building that I see here today in JianAn area. Sometimes it’s sad to see the old stores to go and replaced by the new as each time we create an irreconcilable lost on our history, but I have to say I breath a sigh of relieve as the new Xiao Yang Sheng Jian stores dashed around the city all looks a hundred times cleaner than the original.
Anyway yes the food! The menu is short and hasn’t changed at all from the original store. As with most people here, the Sheng Jian Bao is not enough to fill our stomach and so I also ordered a Hot and Sour Rice Noodles. For those who don’t know a Sheng Jian Bao is basically a bun filled with meat and then fried in a large pan. As you bite into it the soup bursts out hence do be careful if you are wearing your favourite shirt that day as chances are it will splat over your shirt. The bottom which is fried is crunchy whereas its softer at the top and it is often dipped with vinegar when you eat it. It is a more carbohydrate heavy version of Xiao lung Bao basically! It may sound heavy but it’s actually so tasty and not oily at all! Very addictive indeed! No wonder so many locals have it for lunch every day! The main reason is probably because it’s quite cheap at only 6 RMB but nevertheless it’s such a delicious local delicacy which I have only seen in Shanghai so far!
As the Sheng Jian Bao is only normally seen as a snack I had the noodles too. Actually the Hot and Sour noodles originated from Sichuan and ChongQian area with the glass like noodles having a very unexpected chewy texture as it is made with red potato powder. With a mixture of spicy and sour taste it is again with popular within China as spicy and sour is often seen as something which helps increase your appetite.
With a week left to go in Shanghai I can’t believe I haven’t eaten this as often as I could! Its delicious, cheap and very authentic. I can’t wait until I eat this again before I leave Shanghai as I believe I will crave for this badly when I’m back in Hong Kong