Every few days our team will scour Shanghai’s dining scene for scrumptious dishes that’ll fill your belly without emptying your savings. Not to discriminate, we’ll search everywhere from bicycle carts to chic venues with twenty-course tasting menus, knowing that any spot could have the next Dish of the Day.
With the Dragon Boat Festival commencing on June 12 it’s time to start hoarding zongzi (粽子)! For the uninitiated, that’s pyramid-shaped compilations of sticky rice and other fillings wrapped in bamboo or other types of broad, flat leaves, and eaten around this time.
However, as older Shanghaiers seem to be mobbing every zongzi vendor like refugees with foreign aid helicopters, it’s hard to tell who slings goodies and who slings fodder. Not to mention that the best zongzi are rolled in people’s dwellings, not at restaurants. If you don’t have a Shanghai auntie, you’re best off hitting up the legendary zongzi at nearby Zhujiajiao or Jiaxing, or if you can’t be bothered to make the trip, Wu Fang Zhai, a local joint serving Jiaxing-style zongzi.
While the original Wu Fang Zhai on Sichuan Road has been crafting sticky rice and bamboo leaf masterpieces for over 150 years, we prefer the more accessible and equally yummy Yunnan Road branch. Two doors down from the sit-down place on 28 Yunnan Road, there’s a counter offering four types of zongzi: non-sweet zongzi peppered with red mung beans, zongzi with a salted duck egg core, zongzi stuffed with succulent braised pork, and zongzi stuffed with red bean paste (3-7.5RMB). You’ll need to shlep these guys home and boil them about 40 minutes before eating, or if you really look like a laowai out of water, they might even do it for you there.
To eat, unravel the twine, unwrap the leaf, release the steam, and bite into that heavenly prism of glutinous rice.
Wu Fang Zhai – 28 Yunnan Nan Lu, Yan’an Zhong Lu (云南南路28号, 近延安东路). Tel: 139-0196-5311. Hours: 8am-10:30pm.
Last time on Dish of the Day: Braised duck @ Guang Ming Cun
See a complete list of our Dish of the Day series here.
Have a recommendation for Dish of the Day? Let Shanghaiist’s food editor Benjamin Cost know at [email protected]!