What’s really great fun about the “Point, Nod, and Smile” method that The Astronomer and I employ for choosing what to eat when we can’t speak the local language is that it’s wonderfully serendipitous. We never know who’s gonna be serving what or who’s gonna be eating when as we’re exploring around town ready to pounce.
This usually means grazing from street to street, not giving any mind to proper meal times and balanced diets. It’s absolutely glorious and one of my favorite parts of traveling.
While strolling down South Yunnan Road, I peered through the window of a plain Jane shop and spotted a man digging into steamers full of xiao long bao.
The dining room, painted white and adorned with government health ratings, was hardly impressive, but the dumplings looked enticing as all get out. The restaurant, Xiao Jin Ling (roughly translated as “little Nanjing“), turned out to be quite the find.
We ordered the classic pork-stuffed xiao long bao to start. Steamed to order, the goods arrived at the table a short while later.
Eight little dumplings, all perfectly pleated. Complimentary vinegar dished out and ready to go.
Xiao Jin Ling’s xiao long bao (try saying that three times fast without stumbling) were stupendous. The skins were a touch thick but hardly doughy, while the filling came through on all porky and juicy fronts. We loved them so much that we wanted to try their crab-filled cousins, but unfortunately the restaurant didn’t have any on hand. Sigh…
Jia Jia Tang Bao may boast the history and reputation when it comes to soup dumplings in Shanghai, but Xiao Jin Ling’s specimens are truly just as great. Hell, try ’em both! When in Rome…
Xiao Jin Ling (click on link for Google map)
On South Yunnan Road at the corner of Ning Hai Dong Road
Huang Pu Qu, Shanghai, China, 200010
Where to scratch a xiao long bao itch in Los Angeles:
- Din Tai Fung – Arcadia
- Hui Tou Xiang Noodles House – San Gabriel
- Wang Xing Ji – San Gabriel
- Southern Mini Town – San Gabriel
- Mama’s Lu – Monterey Park
- Dean Sin World – Monterey Park
Our previous culinary exploits in the People’s Republic of China:
- B-Ballin’ in Beijing
- Eating in Chaoyang
- Farewell Fuwa*
- Maison Boulud – Beijing
- Peking Duck at Da Dong (with a side of baseball)
- The Great Wall of China
- Track ‘n’ Snacks in the Bird’s Nest
- Bo Innovation
- Eating in Hong Kong I
- Eating in Hong Kong II
- Eating in Hong Kong III
- Eating in Hong Kong IV
- Happy Mid-Autumn Moon Festival
- Lánxīn Cāntīng – Shanghai
- Postcards from the Road: People’s Republic of China, Better Late than Censored
- Shanghai Suppin’: Dumpling Soup & Rice Cakes
- Striking Street Food Gold: 10 Fabulous Finds on South Yunnan Road – Shanghai