Sheng jian bao in the Bay Area

I think the Wujiang Lu shop relocated. I was deeply bereft, that shop and the food alley, was on my internal map of shanghai and when I tried to just walk there found an empty hole and building… such is modern shanghai…

However, I think they only moved a block away. I saw the familiar yellow sign in a newly raised building. They had scored a nice, outward facing storefront, upstairs.

But I can’t find any info ( in english anyway ) about this shanghai location. Maybe I hallucinated it? Or was that a year ago, and that shop failed ( impossible ! ).

Yes, I know Yang’s has a number of locations in Shanghai but none are downtown where I do a lot of customer meetings and usually stay. Trekking out on the metro a few stops isn’t that hard, but … still…

I suspect that the crust formed from frying pleat side down prevents soup from steaming the sjb open and/or from saturating the bottom into a soggy mess. If that’s true, the soupless ones that are fried pleat side down would be done that way out of convention rather than necessity. Just speculating here…

There were two storefronts on Wujiang Lu. The flagship store is now on Huanghe Lu.

I don’t know what you consider “Downtown” but as of 2011 when I was last in SH there was a small outlet inside the Shanghai No 1 Provisions Store on the Nanjng Lu Mall.

JFC, I just checked and they show 90 locations now! In 1992 when I was first there they had only one.

I think you are right, frying with the the pleated side down keeps them sealed.

Here’s a nifty little video of the making of SJB with traditional equipment. I love that someone says “Let’s eat!” in Shanghainese near the beginning.


I stopped by Shanghai Flavor Shop in
Sunnyvale when I was in the area recently. I was quoted 10 minutes for a to-to sheng jian bao order,and a few minutes after the estimate I was served very fresh bao.
I enjoyed them more than any others in the Bay
Area by a decent margin. D

ough was raised texture, and soup was decently soupy. I enjoyed the crispiness and flavor of the pleat-side down fry of the raised bun. They were obviously fried in a pan that can accommodate a curved surface, as their browned surface was curved, but not above the 20% bottom of the bao.


My most recent order at Panda Dumpling in San Carlos had the exterior I’d been looking for, but an interior that was vastly different (though not bad). The dough had a steamed/fried on one side texture and was not burnt nor undercooked/not expanded enough (many end up too dense in the dough).
There wasn’t any soup to speak of, and the filling was like some sort of 1970’s potsticker–it contained ground pork, napa cabbage, and I’m pretty sure water chestnuts and perhaps other elements for crunch. I actually liked the taste, but if you’re seeking current trenz in sheng jian bao, this is not your place.
I had ordered for takeout and the sheng jian bao were placed in the plastic tray seconds before the handover to me.

I tried the SJB at Dumpling Kitchen in SF and they were quite good. Maybe could have used a touch more browning and a little more soup, but they were tasty.

On a side note, I don’t recommend the SJB at Bund Shanghai in SF Chinatown. The last time I had them they were very doughy to the point where the dough sponged up most of the juices from the filling.

Oh, the SJB thread is a different thread. I mentioned BG in an XLB thread.

Bamboo Garden in Mountain View. Crispy bottoms, slightly thicker skins than an XLB as required, great meat / juice / skin ratios. No online menu. Just as good as what I’ve had in San Gabriel Valley.

1 Like

I think this is a menu put up by someone:

The place is a little confusing to me. I can’t decide if they are a Northeast place or a Shanghai place given menu focus on dishes from both areas…

Seems pretty solidly Shanghainese to me, with some American Chinese Greatest Hits thrown in, especially on the lunch menu.

They have a few Dongbei stuff- sparerib stews. I re-read an old thread and the owner lady is from that region. Perhaps one of these days I will stop by and ask why the Dongbei folks are cooking mostly Shanghai stuff.

I remember the menu having fewer american bits. Let me try to snag one next time I’m grabbing some dumplings. But… I agree. A hodge-podge.

Maybe they have separate hard copy menus. It’s a not uncommon form of Chinese restaurant schizophrenia, to stack a lunch specials menu with Cantonese golden oldies that are nowhere to be seen at dinner time.

The Xiao Yang branch you saw in a new mall on Wujiang Lu is in the Huangpu River Building at 269 Wujiang Lu. It’s across the hall from a new Nanxiang Xiaolong Bao shop, and far too sterile-looking to be inviting, if you ask me.

I finally tried Shanghai Flavor Shop’s version this past weekend and the style isn’t my favorite, even though it is possibly the Bay Area gold standard. I prefer a thicker wrapper and more aromatics in the meat filling. They were very juicy and nicely browned, but I would have liked the crispy skin to contrast better with a breadier dough.

1 Like

A dish of these came out just as we were leaving! So we didn’t get to try them. They were somewhat flatter than many, browned only on the bottom but looked nicely crispy brown. This was yesterday 3/09 at lunchtime:

East Bay Saigon Seafood Harbor
3150 Pierce St, Richmond, CA 94804
(just before the Pacific East Mall aka 99Ranch Mall)

Sjb at Shanghai House (balboa @ 38th, SF)

good crunchy outside with varying amounts of soup inside. Had to wait 40 minutes for them to come out, though.

Those look great!

I revisited Shanghai flavor shop after a dull first visit, and enjoyed them this time. The filling tastes very similar to most xiao long bao, and the bottom was crunchy with some flexibility. There’s about 1/2 spoonful of soup and I found them easiest to eat by picking them up with my hands and sucking the soup

1 Like

for one of the diners at my table, the soup squirted out of the bao and burned her forearm. not quite as fluffy as the ones i remember from Shanghai but i would definitely order them again.

the shop that I’ve visited most is the one by people’s park, just north on huanghe lu - also the ‘flagship’ - this location works out well if you have the stomach space for a SJB/XLB 1-2 combo by hitting up jia jia tang bao across the street, and of course, fight through the crowds:

Oddly enough, I never had xiao yang’s until 2010. Instead, the few years I spent growing up in Shanghai, I only had them when visiting my grandparents on the weekends when they would just go out with a pot and bring it back filled with SJB and other Shanghainese breakfast goodies.

Finding SJB shops that are open all day are sorta tough imho since demand is often just during breakfast, especially when navigating inside neighborhoods - making SJB crawls hard, I think. Though my grasp of Shanghainese and Mandarin are probably just too poor to make it happen (including being able to read dianping…)

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2