Shanghai's best dumplings

From shengjian to xiaolongbao, eat the city's top dumplings

Time Out picks out ten of our all time favourite dumpling dishes in Shanghai including hearty steaming Dongbei parcels, delicate soupy wontons and, of course, classic crispy shengjianbao.

Flick through our photo gallery above for the full list, or click the image to view in pop up.
Veggie dumplings at Dongbei Four Seasons Dumpling King, 5RMB/six
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Veggie dumplings at Dongbei Four Seasons Dumpling King, 5RMB/six

At Dongbei Four Seasons Dumpling King, vegetarians cheer the inclusion of meatless dumplings in a city where finding veg-friendly varieties of the traditional pork-based dish is a struggle. The menu names can be deceptive: The 'vegetarian three delicacies’ dumpling actually contains shrimp (along with egg and leek) and is a great, hearty choice for pescaterians. 


Meanwhile the mushroom and bok choy dumplings are 100 per cent vegetable with delicately chopped Chinese mushrooms and moist bok choy enveloped in the al dente jiaozi skin.’ ‘house-speciality’ ‘huge portions from a huge menu.

Dongbei Four Seasons Dumpling King379 Xikang Lu, near Wuding Lu. See full address details.

Xiaolongbao at Fu Chun, from 10RMB
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Xiaolongbao at Fu Chun, from 10RMB

Locals constantly pack out this brusque two-storey lanehouse restaurant, considered by many to make the most authentic xiaolongbao. One long (six dumplings) will set you back a mere 10RMB (for pork; 25RMB for crab).


Fu Chun 650 Yuyuan Lu, near Zhenning Lu. See full address details.

Xiaolongbao at Din Tai Fung, 30RMB
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Xiaolongbao at Din Tai Fung, 30RMB

Since launching a dingy street stall in Taipei in the 1980’s, the Din Tai Fung empire has expanded through Asia like wildfire, and all this success comes down to one little dumpling. These xiaolongbao are heavenly pork packages with skins of unparalleled delicacy. They arrive with the fragrant soup inside at a temperature that’s perfect for popping straight into your mouth. Chefs take three months of training before they can serve a dumpling – and it shows.


Din Tai Fung 18 Shuicheng Lu, near Hongqiao LuSee full address details.

Shengjianbao at Xiao Yang, 8RMB
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Shengjianbao at Xiao Yang, 8RMB

A Shanghai classic, these pan-fried soup dumplings are a thick, heavy, often messy affair. But we keep going back because there’s nothing like them: there’s a crunchy, bready outer shell covered with sesame seeds holding a ball of fragrant pork surrounded by a slightly sweet, thick stock that often spurts upon biting down. Xiao Yang’s recipe has become a favourite in its own right – spawning over 30 locations throughout Shanghai since their first branch in 1994.


Read our profile with Xiao Yang herself here.

Xiao Yang Shengjian 269 Wujiang Lu, near Taixing Lu. See full address details.

Shuangdan wontons at Shenxing, 9RMB
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Shuangdan wontons at Shenxing, 9RMB

Juicy big pork wontons with chives and slippery small pork wontons are age-old Shanghai snacks, and the grungy veteran Shengxing has been a longtime local favourite for both. The menu (on the wall behind the front cashier, who you pay upon ordering) only has about ten options (a range of wontons and sweet tangyuan). 

The shuangdan combination gives you a taste of both types: five big pork wontons with chives and 12 little pork ones, in soup broth.

Shengxing 528 Shunchang Lu, near Yongnian Lu. See full address details.

Xiaolongbao at Linlongfang, from 13.5RMB
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Xiaolongbao at Linlongfang, from 13.5RMB

Linlongfang, owned by the same group which runs the equally renowned Jia Jia Tangbao, has never lost its status as one of the most popular dumpling brands throughout the years; and thankfully their prices still remain at historic lows (13.5RMB/12). Don’t skip the delectable egg and pork variety.


Linlongfang 10 Jianguo Dong Lu, near Chaozhou Lu. See full address details.

Shrimp wontons at Molokai, 36RMB
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Shrimp wontons at Molokai, 36RMB

You can get a bowl of wontons at a thousand restaurants, but rarely does this staple Cantonese dish thrill you with freshness or brilliance. At Molokai, the veteran Hong Kong chef makes a bowl of wontons that illuminates why this is a signature pride of the Cantonese table. 

Silky packages with translucent skins float in a light broth that doesn’t sting the tongue with MSG or frustrate the palate with dishwater-like soup. They’re stuffed with large squeaky-fresh shrimp which bounce just slightly against your teeth.

Molokai Xintiandi South Plaza, Bldg 6, 123 Xingye Lu, near Huangpi Nan Lu. See full address details

Soup dumplings at Jia Jia Tangbao From 9RMB
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Soup dumplings at Jia Jia Tangbao From 9RMB

With three no-frills branches, Jia Jia Tangbao basically offers one thing: soup dumplings, in eight varieties (9RMB/pork, 15RMB/shrimp and pork, 27RMB/crab and pork). When you only do one thing, you’d better do it well, and Jia Jia is revered as one of the best. The nearly constant queues mean this legendary brand often sells out by late afternoon.


Jia Jia Tangbao 90 Huanghe Lu, near Fengyang Lu, Huangpu district. See full address details.

Shengjian at Dahuchun 6RMB/four
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Shengjian at Dahuchun 6RMB/four

The oldest Shenjian stop in the city, Dahuchun's dumplings use a very traditional recipe, which hasn't changed in over 70 years. They do not have soup inside; instead, the beef soup comes on the side, which is how it’s been served since the 1950s. The pork is a little sweet, and the beef soup is salty; a perfect combination.


Dahuchun 71 Yunnan Nan Lu, near Jinling Dong Lu. See full address details.

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