Postcard Press Picks:
Yang’s Fry Dumplings
When traveling abroad, you don’t generally expect a fast-food chain to be a must-visit or a place to which you’ll want to return. Almost any destination will have hundreds, if not thousands, of restaurants, and with just a few days to visit, you can’t even scratch the surface. But Yang’s Fry Dumplings isn’t a typical fast-food chain: it’s on almost any list you’ll find when researching Shanghai, China. And it’s perfected one of the city’s signature dishes: sheng jian bao. So, if you’re heading to Shanghai at some point, make sure this Postcard Press Pick is on your list.
Sheng jian bao is a Shanghai-style soup dumpling. What makes it different from the more widely found soup dumplings (known as xiao long bao) is that they have a thicker, doughier shell and are pan-fried, adding a bit of crunch to their bite. Sesame seeds and scallions top the dish and add a little something extra. At Yang’s Fry Dumplings, the dumplings are made fresh and in small batches. This means that the filling is very hot, and you must use caution. The best way to eat the soup dumplings is to bite off a small hole on the top and blow on the hot liquid inside before sucking out the flavorful soup. Once you’ve gotten all the delicious liquid, you can eat the rest.
Yang’s specializes in just a select few dumplings, which guarantees that they’ve perfected the recipe. Their current options are pork, shrimp, and crab (the latter may have been seasonal). Get the tray of six, and you’ll get two of each (for less than 4 USD)! Six dumplings may not sound like enough food, but it’s actually quite substantial thanks to the thick shell, rich soup, and generous filling. Still, Yang’s has several soup options if you need a little more.
Yang’s Fry Dumplings has dozens of locations throughout Shanghai; although, Google may not know where more than two are. The one everyone recommends is in the center of the city on Huanghe Road, near People’s Square. This location is destined to be crowded though, and so we recommend checking with the concierge or reception staff at your hotel or hostel for a location near you—both of the restaurants we visited were in malls.
Be aware, that Yang is pronounced with a short “a” sound. Our concierge was a little confused when we first asked, and it wasn’t until we showed him a picture of the place that he recognized what we were looking for. We were surprised then to hear him pronounce the name—we felt very American at that moment!
Have you eaten at local fast food restaurants while abroad? Let your fellow travelers know which restaurants you’d recommend below.