The word dumpling immediately makes me feel warm and fuzzy with visions of plump parcels of goodness unravelling in my mouth. The ultimate feel-good food. But to refer to all the different types of Chinese dumplings in Shanghai with one name almost feels like an injustice. Like a complete oversight of all the unique nuances that make each one deserving of their own glory. Here in our Shanghai dumpling guide, we will celebrate the 7 types of Chinese dumplings in Shanghai that we love. This includes Jiaozi, Guotie, Sheng Jian Bao, Xiao Long Bao, Baozi, Wontons and Siu Mai. Find out what they are, where to eat them in Shanghai, and how to make them at home.
Shanghai Dumpling Guide Video
A familiar dumpling, Jiaozi is a semicircular dumpling usually steamed or boiled with a filling of meat or vegetables or a combination of the two. It’s comforting and well-known around the world.
Where To Eat The Best Jiaozi In Shanghai: Dongbei Four Seasons Dumpling King, 1791 Huaihai Xi Lu, Xuhui District, Shanghai
Ah, the beautiful potsticker, otherwise known as Guotie. This is essentially a Jiaozi, but rather than boiled or steamed, they are fried in a pan with oil on one side and then water is added to the pan and covered to steam the rest of the dumpling.
There is something so ‘I can have my cake and eat it too’ about the Guotie. Literally the best of both worlds. Perhaps one of the only times that the grass is greener with one foot on each side. Guotie are traditionally filled with ground pork and scallions or cabbage.
Where To Eat The Best Guotie In Shanghai: Pengyuan Guotie, 102 Gao’an Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai
Sheng Jian Bao
Sheng Jian Bao is a unique dumpling, literally bursting with juiciness and sometimes, ok, almost always, a chopstick challenge.
These pan-fried, part steamed, bread-like dough dumplings are filled with both meat (usually ground pork) and hot liquid. Sometimes very hot liquid. Proceed with caution. Liquid has a tendency to burn, squirt far distances and create awkward or hilarious social situations.
Where To Eat The Best Sheng Jian Bao In Shanghai: Da Hu Chun, 136 Sichuan Middle Rd, Huangpu District, Shanghai
Read More: Coming Soon – Best Sheng Jian Bao In Shanghai China
Xiao Long Bao (XLB)
Xiao Long Bao is synonymous with the term Shanghai dumplings. These delicate steamed soup dumplings are a balancing act between thin dumpling skin, soup (gelatinised broth that melts when steamed) and meat filling (often pork, but a range of fillings are available including Shepherds Purse). Get the balance right, and utter joy is inevitable.
The experience of devouring Xiao Long Bao is also a thing in itself. With dumpling sitting on your ginger and vinegar dipped soup spoon secured by chopsticks, taking a tender bite to break the skin to avoid soup burn. Then, either devouring the entire Xiao Long Bao, soup, meat and skin, or separating soup from dumpling. Take your pick.
These dumplings are said to originate in Nanxiang, which we took a day trip to just to try them. But in our opinion, what Nanxiang started, Shanghai perfected. There’s nothing quite like walking past steaming baskets of Xiao Long Bao piled high on the streets of Shanghai in the middle of winter.
Where To Eat The Best Xiao Long Bao In Shanghai: Lin Long Fang, 10 Jian Guo Dong Lu, Huangpu District, Shanghai
Read More: Coming Soon – Best Xiao Long Bao In Shanghai China
A fluffy steamed bun dumpling which only needs a small amount of saucy meat or vegetable filling to compliment the pillowy dumpling bread-like dough. With a large variety of fillings, there is a Baozi out there for everyone.
Where To Eat The Best Baozi In Shanghai: Yili Baozi Dianxin, 1 Gao’an Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai
I’ve had many wontons before. It’s a well-known dumpling. A popular dumpling. But I have never had wontons like the ones I tried in China. The delicate, silky skins. Combined with unapologetic sauces or delicate soups that are just as important as the wonton itself.
Where To Eat The Best Wontons In Shanghai: Er Guang Wonton, 109 Huangjiaque Lu, Shanghai
Siu Mai (Shao Mai)
Admittedly, we were so taken by all of the other delicious dumplings that we didn’t have too many Siu Mai (Shao Mai) in China. These steamed dumplings are usually filled with pork, rice and mushroom or occasionally prawn and coated with a thin wrapper that leaves the filling exposed on top.