Shang Hai Fried Xiao Long Bao – Incredibly Juicy Sheng Jian Bao by Ex-Restaurant Dim Sum Chef
In my never-ending quest to find the best cheap eats in the city, I came across this two-month-old hawker stall in Chinatown Complex — Shang Hai Fried Xiao Long Bao（小上海生煎小笼包）.
The stall is started by Chef Jiang who used to work at Crystal Jade and Paradise Group as a dim sum chef. He has more than 25 years of experience in making dim sum. When he wanted to start his own business, he decided to sell Sheng Jian Bao.
Sheng jian bao are less commonly found in Singapore as compared to Xiao Long Bao, which explains my excitement when I heard about this stall.
These buns are the cousin of the soup dumpling, and has a slightly thicker skin so that it can withstand being fried and then steamed. Chef Jiang wraps the dumplings one by one before placing them on a huge flat pan for some serious pan-frying, before putting the lid on so that the top part of the buns get steamed.
Just like soup dumplings, sheng jian bao is filled with a pork meat ball and soup. The fillings literally exploded with juices when I bit into them. With every bite, the crispy bottom gave off an audible crack.
The buns were super juicy and incredibly flavourful, and every drop of the pork juices made me squeal in excitement. The heat simultaneously steams the bread and allows the dough to absorb the flavours of the juices. The original pork sheng jian bao ($3 for 3 pcs) is already inviting enough, but if you like, you can go for the prawn version ($4 for 3 pcs).
The skin of the xiao long bao ($4.80 for 6 pcs) at this stall is thicker and I wish there was more soup. If you wish to eat xiao long bao, perhaps Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao is a better choice. There are other items on the menu too, such as Beef Vermicelli Soup ($4.50), and Fresh Shrimp Wanton Soup ($6.50 for 8 pcs).
Now, I have found a spot to get delicious sheng jian bao, yay! This is a little treasure of savoury meaty goodness and you only pay a fraction of the price as compared to having it in a restaurant. Be prepared to wait especially during lunch hours.
Shang Hai Fried Xiao Long Bao
Address: 335 Smith Street, Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre #02-104, Singapore 050335
Opening Hours: Closed every Wednesdays