Dumplings are a central part of Chinese cuisine. Typically a dumpling consists of ground meat or vegetable filling wrapped up in a thinly rolled piece of dough, which is sealed shut by a dextrous pinch of the fingers. But that’s not to say that all dumplings are the same. Join me as I sample the 4 best types of Chinese dumplings served here in Shanghai.
The shape, filling, and cooking technique depends largely on the area of China you’re in. Some dumplings are boiled, others are steamed, and some are fried. Some are served in soup, some are filled with soup, and others simply plop on a plate. Luckily we’re in Shanghai, an international city where dumplings of all walks of life converge. So today, we’re gonna try four different types of Chinese dumplings and you can decide which one you like the best.
Shui Jiao 水饺
This is a northern style dumpling which is rolled to look like a small change purse, then it’s dropped into boiling water for about 5 to 10 minutes before being served on a plate or in a bowl. Price: 10 Yuan per plate
Hun Dun 馄饨
While this variety is also boiled in water, typically, hun dun is served in hot broth and is often folded into the shape of a small hat or boat. Price: 10 Yuan per bowl
Xiao Long Bao 小笼包
Now, let’s move away from boiled dumplings and try some of the steamed variety. Xiao long bao is a Shanghai-style dumpling that is cooked in tall cylindrical containers which act like a steam chimney. Unlike the previous dumplings, this variety is not cooked in water, but instead, contains a rich, savory broth. Price: 2 Yuan per dumpling
Sheng Jian Bao 生煎包
Sheng jian bao is the most savory variety of dumpling. Similar to xiao long bao, this dumpling is also filled with meat and savory broth, but instead of being steamed, it’s fried in a pan until the bottom side is crispy, then it’s topped with sesame seeds. Price: 1 Yuan per dumpling