There are those that would argue that steamed pork dumplings, from a variety of different places, are best dumplings in Shanghai. But the pan fried pork dumplings from Little Yang’s might have something to say.
Steamed or Fried?
The delicate steamed dumplings are filled with soup, or liquified fat juicy goodness. I could probably consume a couple of bamboo steamer’s worth – about 24+ or so – in one sitting. On the other side of the street, literally, Little Yang’s queue of people eagerly wait for their fried ones. These hearty dumplings, about twice the size of a steamed one, features a thicker and more bready skin with a pork filling. Apparent is the difference, so much you could have cravings on different days. On Huang He Lu (Lu meaning road), there’s a Jiajia Tang Bao (steam dumpling restaurant) right across the street from Little Yang’s. While both establishments enjoy long line and waits for tables, you can satisfy one of two potential cravings.
Though they offer soup, I think most everyone orders dumplings – 4 pieces for 5 RMB (which is about USD 0.80 or so) On my first visit, I believe I had 6 of them. Then on my second, I had 8. Though I think I could have had more. These little dumplings are served right off the hot pan. Each pan makes about 60 or so. And it seems like they are making them non-stop. After you get your dumplings, while cleaning the drool from chin, you make your way to a table upstairs. Then you enjoy.
The correct way to eat dumplings, fried or steamed, is through a time honored technique I learned as a kid. Here’s how it goes.
With chopsticks, a dipping tray, and a soup spoon, you are then ready to go.
1. Make sure you have the right combination for your dipping sauce, with a selection of black or regular vinegar, hot sauce or peppers, with or without savory soy sauce. Sometimes, there’s ginger for the steamed ones.
2. With your chopsticks, try to pick each of the dumplings without breaking the skin. If you accidentally break the skin and the juices run out, you just lost out on some of the goodness.
3. You then carefully dip the dumpling into the sauce, without splashing around. Try to roll it around, so that the different sides absorbs some of the sauce.
4. Then, with the soup spoon, pick up the dumpling and move toward pie-hole (mouth).
5. I like to first bite into the skin revealing the meat and soup.
6. Then blow into hole to cool it down.
7. Then devour
8. Smile and bask in the glory of the Dumpling!
9. Repeat steps 2 to 8 till full.
Though I have only been in China for less than 3 month, I’ve already been to Little Yang’s twice. I’m sure I will go a few more times before the end of the year. Perhaps they will open a location in the Pudong area or in Los Angeles.
What to Order: Fried Dumplings
What not to Order: Absolutely no need to order soup.
Price Range 1 $/¥/NT
Little Yang’s Fried Dumplings, Shanghai
上海市静安区吴江路54号, Shanghai, China – 021-61361391
上海市黄浦区黄河路97号, Shanghai, China – 021-53751793
上海静安区陕西北路80号, Shanghai, China – 021-62721581
上海市黄浦区河南中路529号, Shanghai, China – 021-63229763