Dumplings For Breakfast

Posted on by on September 2nd, 2011 | 18 Comments »

When I sat down at the famous Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant in the Old City of Shanghai it was only 11am. I only had 24 hours in Shanghai and wasn’t about to waste any time on the usual hour long or more lines that form on each level of this 3 story restaurant. Though it was early, skipping xio long bao (soup dumplings) would have been like not buying a slice of pizza in NYC or passing up a dish of paella in Valencia, just couldn’t happen. And, so, dumplings for breakfast it was.

Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant has over a century year old history and tourists and locals alike flock here to sample the traditional Shanghai staple food of xio long bao. For those of you not familiar with these little pouches of deliciousness, xio long bao are meticulously crafted little dumplings made out of a flour dough wrapper and filled with either pork or crab and roe (other fillings have emerged as well). But, what makes these dumplings so darn good is the little surprise that awaits you when you bite into one; a spoonful of rich warming soup.

Xio long bao was first invented at Nanxiang when the cooks figured out a way to a add solidified broth gelée to the crab or minced pork filling. Once they steam the dumplings the gelée returns to a liquid and the soup dumpling is born. Creating xio long bao is an art form and with a non seasoned cook preparing them, a lot can go wrong. The dumpling meat can become rubbery, the wrapper can become too thick or too thin and break and without proper timing and temperature the gelée that makes these so special can become greasy or stay partially solidified. However, at Nanxiang you will always get the perfect xio long bao.

Having read about Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant before hand, I knew I was in for a wonderful culinary experience. At 11am the line at the take away window downstairs had already drawn a crowd a block long and so I decided to go straight up to the third floor where getting a table at this hour shouldn’t be a problem. I was seated right away and ordered their famed pork and crab roe filled xio long bao along with a crab and pork xio long bao. They arrived in bamboo steamers and each one had the perfect texture along with the perfect amount of filling and warming soup. Nanxiang more then delivered on their reputation. As I was leaving the third floor restaurant had already filled up the waiting room and people were lined up down the stairs waiting for a table.

Aside from the amazing xio long bao that I sampled, Nanxiang also serves up other favorites like their award winning King Sized Crab Roe Steamed Bun and Drunken Chicken.

Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant is one of those ‘must go’ stops for any foodie or xio long bao fan when visiting Shanghai. However, if you don’t want to eat dumplings for breakfast, be prepared to wait a good hour or more for these succulent little treats. But, trust me, they are well worth the wait.

Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant 
Yuyuan Bazaar, 378 Fuyou Road, Shanghai, China

**This article was also featured in Honest Cookings, Places We Love

Beautiful Shanghai at night.

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  1. Posted on: 9-2-2011

    Clearly we are on the same time schedule over here in the Middle East 🙂 This was a really great post. Your travel writing is pretty good Beth, it feels as if we can experience vicariously through you while you give us ideas for new discoveries! Loved this post.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-2-2011

      Yes we are Stewart!! It’s nice having people on the same time schedule since all my friends and family are 7 hours behind!! I’m glad you enjoyed the post!!

  2. Posted on: 9-2-2011

    Xiao Long Bao is definitely one of my fave dumplings. Beauty is that they are equally good whether for winter or summer.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-2-2011

      I agree Chopin! They are good anytime of year and anytime of day! I just love them.

  3. Posted on: 9-2-2011

    This looks like you are still enjoying a lot of the wonderful Asian cuisine. I have yet to find a great place for dumplings, but I am still on the look out. Thanks for sharing your dining experience.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-2-2011

      Thanks Tina! It is always good to have a good dumpling place! Hope you find one.

  4. Posted on: 9-2-2011

    Oh, that photo of Shanghai is gorgeous!!! As are those dumplings…like works of art!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-2-2011

      Thanks Liz! Thats the Bund in Shanghai, its one of the most beautiful cities when its lit up like that at night. You cant tell from the photo but a bunch of the buildings sparkle!!!!

  5. Posted on: 9-2-2011

    Beth, great article on Honest Cookings! Hehee the pictures of you and your hubby with xiao long bao are cute! The night view of Shanghai is beautiful. Hope we get to visit there one day…

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-2-2011

      Thanks Nami!! Had to include the photos of us eating the dumplings! Shanghai at night is one of the most beautiful skylines I have ever seen!

  6. Posted on: 9-2-2011

    Oh my your photos are fabulous! Thanks for sharing your travels 🙂

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-2-2011

      Thank you so much Kathleen, Im glad you enjoyed it!

  7. Posted on: 9-5-2011

    Such an informative post and the skyline is just breathtaking! Shanghai is on my list of places I need to visit and now I know where to get my ‘breakfast’. 😉


    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-6-2011

      The Shanghai skyline is just unbelievable! If you do make it that way you will for sure need to check out Naxiang for breakfast 🙂

  8. Posted on: 9-6-2011

    Well, I’d have dumplings for breakfast, too… I’d do anything for these fabulous dumplings! Great post, Beth!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-6-2011

      Thanks Giulia! If i could have dumplings like this for breakfast everyday I would be happy!!!

  9. Posted on: 9-25-2011

    Soup dumplings are my favorite food – ever!! Vancouver has some great restaurants that make them here…this post has given my a craving for them!!

  10. Posted on: 9-25-2011

    Soup dumplings are my fave! Great post.

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