Xiao Long Bao in Shanghai: Jia Jia Tang Bao

Jia Jia Tang Bao - Shanghai

Soup dumplings are synonymous with Shanghai, so it was imperative that we indulge in more than a few steamers full during our stay in the city.

Our first glimpse of the fiercely competitive local xiao long bao scene was at Jia Jia Tang Bao, a beloved institution known for its impeccably constructed steamed-to-order dumplings. Locals and visitors alike gather here for dependably delicious, albeit a touch expensive, xiao long bao.

Jia Jia Tang Bao - Shanghai

Inside this no-frills, fluorescent-lit shop located just north of People’s Square, orders are taken at the front counter (no English is spoken, but there’s a translated menu) and dumplings are delivered tableside. The selection depends on the time of day. Since we dined during the evening hours, a few varieties, including the ever-popular crab and pork dumplings, were no longer available.

We had read on various websites and travel publications that the restaurant usually boasts long lines, but fortunately there were none during our visit.

Jia Jia Tang Bao - Shanghai

Shredded ginger in vinegar, an essential xiao long bao accoutrement, was available for a nominal fee. Score one for the San Gabriel Valley’s XLB joints, where this condiment is always plentiful and free.

Jia Jia Tang Bao - Shanghai

A bowl of hotter-than-it-looked chili oil was also on hand to spice as we liked. The Astronomer and I were both happy downing our dumplings without much added heat.

Jia Jia Tang Bao - Shanghai

The dumplings, stacked in pyramidal fashion to keep from encroaching on our communal table mate’s space, arrived soon after we found a seat.

Jia Jia Tang Bao - Shanghai

The first dumplings on the scene were filled with pork and luscious, porcine juices. The filling was delicately balanced with a touch of ginger and scallions, while the skins were thin-enough and pliable.

These xiao long bao were definitely solid, but not head and shoulders above what we have here in Los Angeles. Score two for the XLB joints in the San Gabriel Valley.

Jia Jia Tang Bao - Shanghai

On the other hand, Jia Jia Tang Bao’s pure crab soup dumplings were the greatest xiao long bao I’ve ever encountered anywhere. The filling, rich with roe and brimming with sweet meat, was luxurious to the nth degree. I still think about these precious parcels every day…

Score one for Shanghai.

Let’s call it a tie.

Jia Jia Tang Bao (click on link for Google map)
90 Huanghe Road
Huangpu, Shanghai, China ‎
Phone: +86 21 6327 6878 ‎

Where to scratch a xiao long bao itch in Los Angeles:

Our previous culinary exploits in the People’s Republic of China:

Beijing

Hong Kong

Kunming

Shanghai

Xi’an

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3 Responses to “Xiao Long Bao in Shanghai: Jia Jia Tang Bao”


  • Oh man, an all-crab XLB needs to happen on this side of the pond!

  • I can only imagine the outcry if Din Tai Fung (or anywhere in the SGV) started charging for ginger and vinegar!

    The crab dumplings are better than Dean Sin World’s? Really? Man… I should have paid more attention during my own trip to Shanghai a few months ago.

  • I had DTF’s crab xlb and it only had crab meat in there, not crab roe and crab fat, which are what make crab xlb so indulgent. I think J and J in San Gabriel has the best crab xlb that I have tasted in US. I was born in Shanghai and these pictures are making me salivate.

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