I was out for my daily morning walk on a chilly Shanghai morning, I made a detour to Yuyuan from The Bund in search for a breakfast pitstop. 25min later, I came to an empty Yuyuan (7am in the morning) and enjoyed a little sight-seeing without the maddening Chinese crowd. Early bird gets the worm.
There’s the usual Starbucks (not opened at this crazy hours) and McD (opened for breakfast, it’s 24 hours). But my destination is the century old Nanxiang Dumpling 南翔小笼包. This is where it all started – the origin of the commercial Pork Dumpling with the lip-burning au jus still skilfully wrapped in the thin skin. Of course, the dish existed far longer than Nanxiang, but this is where it became an icon of Shanghai and Jiangnam-style dimsum.
Enter from a nondescript door into the restaurant, there were 4 storeys in this century old building. The ground floor catered to takeaways. Second floor was an open hall that you ordered from a counter a la fast-food style, and you get a nondescrip table service as well. Well you paid something like $5 for tea, a egg-drop soup and a dozen dumplings, so don’t complain. If you want proper (and still not too good) table service, you should go to third and fourth floors.
The dumplings were piping hot, and each one was filled with the delicious au jus from the pork. The minced pork was a mixed blend of fats and meat, but it was the fat that gave the yummy, sticky texture. Egg drop was not exciting – MSG stock with finely chopped egg omelette sprinkled with spring onions – and I would skip it in future. This was the perfect start to a new day.
No 85 Yuyuan Road, Shanghai 豫园路85号(近城隍庙豫龙坊)