What McDonald’s is to America, Yang’s Fried Dumplings is to Shanghai. I make this comparison not to demean or degrade the quality of food at Yang’s Fried Dumplings, but to make the comparison that both are insanely popular fast food chains and have locations all over their respective regions. Yang’s Fried Dumplings is a Chinese fast food chain that specializes in Shen Jian Bao which is a the slightly larger Fried Cousin of the Xiao Long Bao. The Shen Jian Bao and Xiao Long Bao are both Soup Dumplings; if you have never had a soup dumpling you are really missing out. They really are exactly what they are sound like they are dumplings that are filled with the gelatinous soup stock that when cooked liquefy so that when eaten it is essentially a soup shot. The Xiao Long Bao are traditionally steamed and smaller, you eat them in one bite. The Shen Jian Boa the way that Yang’s Serves them, are bigger they contain more substantive filling than just the soup you get in a Long Bao; they are pan fried on the bottom to make them nice and crispy and then steamed on top to keep the top of the bun soft and fluffy. One great part about Yang’s that you don’t get at a typical fast food restaurant as the Kitchen is open to view right as you walk in and you can watch them make these fresh dumplings.
Yang’s is extremely popular in Shanghai and if you go around meal times they line to order can be out the door. This is because Yang’s provides high quality dumplings at fast food prices. Yang’s basic Pork Sheng Jian Bao is 8 RMB (about $1.15) for an order of 4 dumplings. We ordered the mixed plate which consists of 2 Pork, 2 Shrimp, and 2 Vegetarian dumplings which ran us a total of 18 RMB (2.59). When it comes to taste yangs didn’t disappoint. While I personally prefer the Steamed Dumpling over the Fried Variety Yang Serves, the fact that these dumplings are larger and filled with meat as well as soup made for a much heartier meal. The broth inside the dumplings was extremely flavorful, but the size did make it a little tougher to eat as it was hard to contain the broth in the dumpling once you bit into it and they are too large to take in one bite like you would the xiao long bao.
I highly recommend at least one trip to Yang’s while you are in Shanghai, eating while traveling can get extremely costly, but you can get a really delicious meal at Yang’s for under $3.