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.
Whether in baseball-sized spheres with fried crullers and pork floss or wrapped in bamboo leaves, sticky rice is an integral part of the China experience for many people. It’s most common manifestation in Shanghai is shao mai, a compilation of sticky rice, soy sauce, sweet pork, and rice wine that’s wrapped in dough skin so that it resembles a medieval sack of coins.
Less glamorous than its dim sum cousin, shumai, shao mai reside in the shadow of the more popular baozi – literally, as they often share the same steamer. Their name translates to “cook and sell;” fitting as they’re mostly sold at street stalls and convenience stores. And honestly you won’t taste a huge difference between a freshly-steamed shao batch and the last decrepit, waterlogged specimen sulking at the bottom of a Lawson steamer tray. But if forced to choose, we’d go with the renditions at Yuyingguan, a cafeteria-style haunt which sells every favorite Shanghai street food from potstickers to fried noodles.
Yuyingguan’s Shao Mai are the fattest, earthiest, and moistest shao mai around. But be careful, one’s an afternoon snack, three will put you into a food coma.
Yuyingguan – 667 Panyu Lu, Huai Hai Xi Lu (番禺路 667号, 近淮海西路). Hours: 5:30am-9:30pm daily.
Last time on Dish of the Day: Suzhou-style pork moon cakes @ Lao Da Fang
See a complete list of our Dish of the Day series here.
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