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.
We’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t like hairy crab xiaolongbao (蟹粉小笼包, xièfěn xiǎo lóng bāo). It’s a hybrid of Shanghai’s two tastiest foods, hairy crab and xiaolongbao, and arguably the best famous food mashup ever (if you mention the Cronut, I’m gonna punch you right in the eye). Unfortunately, the lines for the most popular XLB depots – Jia Jia Tang Bao, Din Tai Fung, Nanxiang – would make you think they’re selling the iPhone 6 out of the steamers. So we prefer the less-slurped-over Cheng Long Hang Xie Wang Fu.
While the campy decor evokes the set of a Chinese period drama you might see playing on a hostel desk clerk’s mini-TV, Chen Long is one of Shanghai’s chief hairy crab spots. The hairy crab xiaolongbao are slightly pricey – 38RMB for four – but you’re prob not going to a hairy crab restaurant set in a two-story mansion to save mao, and this is one of the cheaper items. They also give you more crab roe for your buck. The skins are not as silken as the Din Tai Fung variety but the contents are equally or more delicious.
To eat, place a soup dumpling in a spoon, and then use your teeth to nip an incision in the side. Place your mouth on it and suck out that succulent reservoir of crab flesh, roe, and pork juice. Then chomp the remaining wrapper and pork ball.
Cheng Long Hang Xie Wang Fu – 216 Jiujiang Lu, near Henan Zhong Lu (九江路216号, 近河南中路). Tel: (0)21-6321-2010. Hours: 11am-2pm, 5-11pm.
Last time on Dish of the Day: Drunken chicken @ Kong Yi Ji Jiujia
See a complete list of our Dish of the Day series here.
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