Sunday, 11 December 2016

Jia Jia Tang Bao Dumplings 佳家汤包 - Huangpu Qu - Shanghai, China

Can you believe Christmas is in a few weeks? How time flies. This year seems to have gone by quicker than the last and I seem to say the exact same thing every year. 

Jia Jia Tang Bao is a casual and hole in the wall restaurant serving what is reputed as the best xiao long bao in Shanghai. They started operating back in the 1980’s and have become a household name. If you do a search on Google for the best xiao long bao restaurant in Shanghai, this place would most likey pop up.

I do have a soft spot for dumplings and I couldn't have left Shanghai without having tried their speciality. the xia long bao. We came here twice for the record. Do expect to wait during peak hours as the restaurant is small and long queues do form.

Ordering is done at the small counter at the front as you enter and as there isn’t a large menu to choose from so it shouldn't be that hard to choose. They also have an English menu available  if you need it. On our first visit to this restaurant where we visited in the late afternoon, the pork dumplings were sold out.

Dumplings are made to order and prepared fresh on the premises by a group of staff behind the glass wall. They churn it out at amazing speeds. 

We found the interior to be relatively clean and hygiene levels looked decent.

A retired couple from the United States shared the same table with us. The man told us that he tried the dumplings from here over 10 years ago but his wife hadn’t so he brought her here to try it and she loved it. That says a lot given that the standards haven’t dropped in those many years since he last visited. 

There aren’t many tables and if you are a small group, expect to share a table. 

On our first visit we had two trays of the ‘Pork and Crab Dumplings’ and they were just delicious and bursting with flavour. It had a nice subtle crab flavour. 

The dumplings are delivered piping hot to the table and with one bite, the soup within oozes out and is super sweet.  Let some steam out before devouring or end up burning your tongue!

The  skins are paper thin and near translucent.

We came the second time to try their variation of the pork dumplings. At 16 RMB for a basket of a dozen dumplings, it’s a steal. 

These were also on point but we preferred the pork and crab dumplings. There was something about the combination of the juices from the pork and crab that gave it that extra hit. 

Soup dumplings are usually eaten with a dipping sauce made up of vinegar and shredded ginger. I personally don’t like vinegar but if you do, definitely  order this. I preferred the spicy sauce.

This is a restaurant that I would definitely recommend for its affordable menu choices, location, ease of ordering and tasty dumplings. It can't be missed. 

90 Huanghe Rd
Huangpu Qu
China 200000

Phone no: +86 21 6327 6878

Opening Hours
7 Days a Week
7:30am – 8:00pm


Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Mr Nice Cafe 好好先生西餐厅 - Jingan - Shanghai, China

Mr Nice Cafe is a cosy café located in Jingan, one of the central districts of Shanghai. It’s easily accessible by train and you can’t really miss it cause it situated close to the famous Jingan Temple. 

You wouldn’t expect to find decent western food in China would you? One would usually be acquainted with faux western food that's usually below average or fusion style. You’ll be surprised because we definitely were. Shanghai doesn’t really have a big cafe culture yet, as compared to say Korea where you see an abundance of little cafes serving great food and coffee.

The cafe is extremely popular with the younger adults and does get busy during lunch and dinner. There are limited seats downstairs and more available upstairs. 

They offer bistro food and if you feel like high tea in the afternoon you could do that too.

Given that it was quite humid in Shanghai, the best way to cool down was to have a nice cold drink.

The ‘Grapefruit Green Tea’ was refreshingly tasty and served in such a cute pot with a swirly straw. 

The ‘Orange Juice’ is freshly squeezed. 

‘Spicy Seafood Pasta (RMB 58.00)’ was my dish of choice.  The balance of flavours was just right with a hint of chilli. There was enough sauce to coat the spaghetti and a generous amount of fresh seafood.  The spaghetti was cooked al-dente. I would definitely order this again if I came back.

‘Spaghetti Bolognese (RMB 55.00)’ is a classic dish and usually the safest option when presented on a menu.  This one didn’t disappoint. A good combination of flavours from the mince, tomato and garlic. 

Having stalked their Instagram account, I was drooling over every picture of their Mille Feuille, a French pastry with multiple layers of puff pastry and crème patisserie in between.

And here it is. That was the most anticipated dish of my entire trip. If you know me well, you would know how much I love eating cakes. Who doesn’t love a good dessert? Way too pretty to eat, just look at this beauty!

The ‘Strawberry Napoleon Cake (RMB 38.00)’ is their signature dessert.  Crispy layers of flaky pastry are separated by a smooth and light cream, then topped with fresh strawberries. It's a match made in heaven.Usually these desserts could be too sweet but their version was perfect and had the right balance of sweetness. 

Can I have the whole cake please?

This was one of my favourite restaurants in Shanghai. I enjoyed the laid back atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of city life. You could sit there for hour’s chit chatting away with your friends if you had the time.

280 Yuyuan Rd
Jingan Qu
Shanghai China 200040

Opening Hours
Monday - Tuesday: 11am to 9pm 
Wednesday - Sunday: 11am to 10pm


Sunday, 20 November 2016

Yang's Dumplings 小杨生煎 - Shanghai Hongqiao - Shanghai, China

Our trip to China has been an eye opening experience. 

Shanghai is different to what I imagined it to be and way beyond my expectations. A modern and cosmopolitan city where east meets west. It's the most populated city in China with a population of more than 24 million and growing.

Rapid developments and a massive transformation over the last few decades has seen the emergence of a plethora of high rise buildings everywhere literally. Shanghai is China's financial capital and is on a quest to becoming a global financial hub.

We weren't blessed with the best weather but I'm glad the pollution levels weren't at an all time high.

 I love the mix of modern and ancient architecture. 

The beautiful Yu Garden, believed to have been built during the Ming Dynasty.

The French Concession area is popular with the expats and an expensive address to boot. 

Communication was the most difficult part of travelling in China. The language barrier of not speaking Mandarin meant getting around was difficult. A lot of people don’t speak English so it was either rely on the internet to get information or point at things. There was no easy way around it. Taking the metro is probably the easiest form of transportation as it’s not only inexpensive but navigating through the many lines available is relatively easy with English signage.

We caught the bullet train from Shanghai to Beijing, a 5 hour train ride. I do recommend buying tickets earlier or booking online as getting tickets on the day can be a difficult process and overwhelming for some. 

Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station is huge and there are plenty of eateries within. 

Yang’s Dumplings is a popular chain of restaurants with several branches throughout the city. It has been mentioned in guide books and is a must visit. Yang's Shanghainese style pan-fried dumplings are iconic. 

From a distance you'll see the brightly lit signs and the words ‘Yang’s Dumpling'.

Plenty of seating is available.

There are English words on the menu so ordering shouldn’t be too hard,  point if needed. Everything is super cheap and affordable.

The ‘Pork Dumplings (RMB 8.00)’ which are also known as shengjian comes in parcels of 4. In a fluffy bread like skin and coated with sesame seed and spring onion, the bottoms of the dumplings have been shallow fried to a crispy golden brown.

The pork mince and hot soup filling is delicious and tasty. Be warned the juices could be hot and burn your tongue!

The ‘Shepherd's Purse and Pork Dumplings (RMB 10.00)’are similar to the pork dumplings but contains a lot more greens and it isn’t as juicy nor as flavoursome.

This dried chilli is a must have if you like spicy foods. It adds a whole new dimension to the flavours.

‘Pork Wonton (RMB 10.00)’ is a generous portion of slippery smooth dumplings with small pieces of meat encased in a soft pastry skin. The bowl is filled with a light broth which we found to be a bit bland.

The ‘Fish Ball Soup (RMB 9.00)’ has tender and bouncy fish balls. We were so full from the dumplings that we didn’t fully get to enjoy these soups.

You can trust Yang’s Dumplings to deliver on taste and consistency. It’s a must have and a decent place to get your fix of authentic Shanghai dumplings with branches located throughout the city. I would personally just stick to the dumplings. 

Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station (Shanghai Hongqiao)

Opening Hours
6:00am – 10:00pm
7 Days a Week