Jia Jia Tang Bao

90 Huanghe Rd, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200003

There’s always a line in front of this hole-in-the-wall, but don’t be deterred: Jia Jia’s queue moves fast, and its steamed soup dumplings are worth the wait. When it’s your turn to order, you bark what you want—pork, crab, or pork and crab xiao long bao—pay, and move to the side to claim a plastic table. The only sounds in the restaurant are tapping chopsticks, satisfied slurping, and the occasional camera shutter. Jia Jia closes when it sell out, usually by early evening. And while the crab dumplings are available year-round, they’re absolutely incredible between September and December.

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Best Xiaolong Bao in Shanghai

As a Shanghai native and someone who grew up truly loving Shanghainese food, nothing beats a round of dumplings at Jia Jia Tang Bao to satisfy your dumpling craving. This hole-in-the-wall chain restaurant (my favorite location is on Xizang Lu) serves up eight delicious soupy pork filled steamed dumplings for only US$2 (eat your heart out Joe’s Shanghai). The famed Ding Tai Fung has nothing on this tasty local haunt. Sure, Jia Jia is small, often packed and heat-induced during the height of summer with little interior decor to be admired--but this the best you’ll get in Shanghai when it comes to food. Their menu only offers dumplings and they’re the best at what they make. An open kitchen gives you a cool glimpse into how they’re dumplings are made (good luck recreating’em) and each “long” is made to order. Enjoy!

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