Want to suck on some succulent xiaolongbao, but don’t know where to go besides the tourist trap of Yu Yuan or Din Tai Fung (which really isn’t actually Shanghainese)? All through this week, Shanghaiist has got your back. We’ve checked out as many xiaolongbao places as our stomachs can bear, from the highest rated locations on Dianping to places we’ve heard of through word-of-mouth, and now we’re giving you the down low on what to expect. Track all the places we try here, and feel free to give suggestions of other great XLB destinations in comments!
Lin Long Fang
Location: 10 Jiang’guo Dong Lu near Zhaozhou Lu; 建国东路10号，靠近肇周路
Price: 9RMB for 12 chicken and pork xiaolongbao (鸡丁肉小笼包); 12RMB for 12 egg and pork xiaolongbao (蛋黄鲜肉小笼包)
Lin Long Fang is touted as the prettier sister store of the famous Jia Jia Tang Bao chain. It’s won over several hearts and we heard that if you don’t want to wait through the long lines at JJTB at lunchtime, you should stop by this less famous eatery since it’s run by the same people.
The Chicken and Pork Xiaolongbao: *** out of 5
SKIN: Nice and doughy but just sheer enough so you could make out the pinkness of the meat inside.
FILLING: The chicken and pork meat mash reminded of a Mcdonalds chicken nugget filling. It was a bit confusing for the taste buds (wait, this is pork, no, it’s chicken, no…pork) We weren’t entirely taken on the mixture but the meat was undoubtedly fresh.
SOUP: Piping hot and clear with subtle flavor.
The Egg and Pork Xiaolongbao: **** out of 5
SKIN: As with the first lot, it had a smooth consistency and was pinched neatly together.
FILLING: Each bao had the yolk of a salted duck egg (the type you get in mooncakes) in the center of the pork filling. Not for the faint of heart–literally. It’s 12 yolks in one steamer basket so those who are watching their cholesterol need to steer clear. On flavor, the egg yolk overpowers the meat so depending on whether you like salted duck eggs to begin with, you might love it or absolutely hate it.
SOUP: Nice counterbalance to the dry, pasty texture of the egg yolk though slightly oily.
The location/service/other: **** out of 5.
The place is kept pretty clean and we happily were feasting on our xiaolongbaos within 5 minutes of ordering. Meanwhile, the 1920s feel dark wooden accents allowed us to pretend we were in Old Shanghai for a bit.
Overall: Lin Long Fang is up there with the best of them. It’s a cute place to kick back and enjoy a few; it also gets major pluses for the freshness of the ingredients. They offer some complex flavors (though it may be something of an acquired taste), but you can always go for the classic pork xiaolongbao instead. If your heart can handle it, we strongly recommend you try the egg and pork ones.