Shanghai Street Eats: Yang’s Fry-Dumplings

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A friend brought me to what turned out a deeply unsatisfying meal at Three on the Bund. I had barely seared scallops on a shockingly insipid saffron risotto garnished with prosciutto chips at the cafe on the top floor of the building. The view was great though majorly overpriced.

On our way back to his apartment, I insisted that he take me to eat good street food. He sure acted fast as no sooner than I spoke, we were at an old favourite, Yang’s Fry-Dumplings (xiao yang sheng jian guan). First we joined the short mid-afternoon queue to make our order and pay up, then clutching greasy receipt in grubby hand, we crowded round the fryer to await our serving of the good stuff.

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Despite the uniforms and youthful staff, it’s still quite a traditional shop in that you can see the dumplings made and fried in front of you. The dumplings consist of minced meat wrapped in dough and fried gently on only one side. The top comes out steamed and the bottom crisp and brown.

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Brandishing our two packets of dumplings, we rushed back to my friend’s apartment nearby. Even though they’d sat for a while, these little packages of heaven were still very excellent. The sturdy flour wrapper was still crisp on the bottom and came apart in the mouth in a burst of meaty juices. It was so good I didn’t bother hunting down vinegar for it. I scarfed down a whole pack of six (or was it eight?) on a full stomach. Good thing too, because that night I ended up at another overpriced and overhyped too-cool-for-the-average-proletariat place.

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I’d had this before a few years ago and I’d forgotten how good it was, especially contrasted against the many pretenders and chi-but-awful places in Shanghai’s food scene. It’s one of the few places that, despite its overexposure, still remains really excellent.

Yang’s Fry-Dumplings
54/60 Wujiang Lu
Puxi, Shanghai
Nearest underground station: Nanjing West Road

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