December 18, 2011

Dumplings and hairy crab roe galore

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Caught up on some sleep last night, but woke up at a pretty reasonable hour.  B has limited time in Shanghai, so we left our service apartment mid-morning to walk around town a little.  But first, we needed to add some fuel for the rest of the day, so breakfast was in order...

Linlong Fang (麟笼坊特色小笼包) is a good walk from where we were, and it was time to go downmarket today.  Xiaolongbao for breakfast doesn't sound like a bad idea when you're in Shanghai...  As we weren't far from lunchtime, I decided to stick to just a dozen of these babies for the two of us.

Pork and crab roe dumplings (鮮肉蟹粉小籠包) - not bad at all.  The sweetness from the pork mixed in with the delicious crab meat and tomalley.

That was just to keep our hunger pangs away, and the best is yet to come.

The Dongtai Road Antique Market (东台路古玩市场) is within walking distance from where we were, and we decided to check it out.  I don't buy anything antique becos I just don't know my stuff, and I'd be slaughtered like a fat-bottomed sheep in Uzbekistan.  As it turns out, this was just like a flea market, with lots of old and beat-up stuff that mom would call 破銅爛鐵.  We walked through the place quickly and moved on.

We were heading for lunch, and decided it would be a nice walk to People's Square instead of taking the subway for one stop.  We passed by the Shanghai Art Museum, which was putting on the Shanghai Biennial.  It would have been a great opportunity to get in some arts and culture, but I decided that we should do food first and art later.

It was barely past 12 noon when we arrived at my favorite XLB joint - Jiajia Soup Dumpling (佳家湯包).  We didn't have to line up, but noticed that most of the items were already sold out.  Fortunately we came for the most expensive item on the menu - pure crab roe xiaolongbao (純蟹粉湯包) - which pretty much never sells out.  And given that they've raised the price from RMB 81 to 99, I'd say the chances of selling out is even slimmer...

These were good.  Maybe not 20% better than the last time I had them, but I was happy.  I think B was, too.  Nothing beats a mouthful of crab meat and tomalley.

And I stayed true to my usual ritual by going across the street to Yang's Fried-Dumpling (小楊生煎).  I got us 2 taels of fried dumplings (生煎包) and a bowl of soup for B.  Maybe the dumplings today weren't as good as I remembered, but they were still yummy and I was happy.

I was stuffed, and it was time for my next mission.  I promised to bring back some hairy crab roe (蟹粉) for mom, but had forgotten to inquire about where to source the good stuff.  I decided to call up Xinguang Restaurant (新光酒家) - my favorite hairy crab restaurant in Shanghai - to see if I could buy some.  Of course I could, they said, and I walked over and picked up a couple of containers.

Mission accomplished, but it was getting a little too late.  There wasn't enough time to go to MOCA or the Shanghai Art Museum for the Biennial.  We walked back to the apartment, where I packed up my stuff - hairy crab roe, braised pork and all - bid farewell to my dear friend B and headed for the airport.  We'd seen each other twice in the last 2 months, and hopefully we'll see each other again soon.

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