Fu Chun

Fu Chun

Your search for true xiaolongbao ends at Fu Chun.
650 Yuyuan Lu, near Zhenning Lu 愚园路650号, 近镇宁路 +86 21 6252 5117
6:30 a.m. to midnight
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Xiaolongbao -- fu chin
For true xiaolongbao like your Shanghainese grandma made (or at least the Shanghainese grandma you wanted to have), grab a steamer at Fu Chun.

Nowadays you need to search for authentic xiaolongbao. And, if you undertake this task, Fu Chun is where you'll end up.

Here's your xiaolongbao education: What most shops sell these days are not xiaolongbao, but Nanjing tangbao (Nanjing soup dumplings) marketed as xiaolongbao. These are the soup-filled dumplings with very thin skin, like the kind you find at Jia Jia Tang Bao or Din Tai Fung.

How can you tell the difference? In a tangbao, the dumpling will sag between your chopsticks because of the soup. For a Shanghainese xiaolongbao, the filling should be like one big meatball with a bit of soup. The skin should be a bit thicker than tangbao, but not as thick as in shengjian (pan-fried dumpling).

Fu Chun does xiaolongbao right, and that's why it's always packed with locals jockeying for position for the next open table -- they enjoy the authentic Shanghai xiaolongbao prepared just as they might remember it from childhood.

At the popular Fu Chun, the xiaolongbao are indeed meatier. The pork filling is lean, brightly savory and bouncier, tasting of rice wine and soy sauce. In comparison, Din Tai Fung and Jia Jia's soup dumplings have a much more delicate, fatty flavor.

But in the end, this dumpling battle is about whether your taste buds prefer meaty and savory or rich and soupy -- there's no right or wrong here, just delicious xiaolongbao.

For the authentic xiaolongbao, Fu Chun's pork incarnations are a steal at RMB 4 for six.