Sheng jian bao

Similar to the Xiao long bao, these dumplings are pan fried and dangerously delicious.

TravelCurious Tip

They’re delicious but don’t lose your head — the inside can be volcanically hot

Sheng jian bao are small, pan-fried steamed dumplings — a great speciality of Shanghai. They are usually made from semi-leavened dough, filled with pork and gelatin. However there are variations on the theme: some contain chicken, prawns or crab meat.

The name comes from the cooking method. The dumplings are arranged in an oiled, flat plan with a wooden lid — in restaurants you might see ones more than a metre in diameter. The scrunch where the pastry is folded always points up; the bottom is in direct contact with the pan and fries into a crispy bottom, while the gelatin melts deliciously. Meanwhile water is sprayed on top to ensure that that is steam cooked as well. Afterwards, you may see the chef flip the pan — fear not, they are just preventing the crispy bottom from becoming soggy.

Xia long bao, the Shanghai-style soup dumplings, have shot to fame for good reason, but Sheng jian bao, their doughier pan-fried relatives, are less widely appreciated outside their home country. Th extra dough makes them sturdy enough to fry, and sturdy enough to stick in a bag and eat on the move. Go and try them once, and you’ll forever be on the hunt for them back home.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Shanghai
Xiao long bao
A type of steamed bun stuffed with meat and cooked in a bamboo steaming basket.
Xie ke huang
A pastry shaped like a crab shell. It is a speciality in the region and comes with a variety of fillings.
Chang shou mian
Handmade wheat noodles that have become a staple chinese food.
Stir fried bull frog
Ramp up the adventure with this popular local dish cooked in green peppers.
Deep fried Wonton
Delicious pork dumplings deep-fried and served with vinegar.
Xinjiang Stone Oven Naan
From the Xinjiang province, this traditional bread is made in a stone oven.

Related Tours

Private Food Tour of Shanghai
Discover an array of fantastic tastes and flavours in Shanghai’s buzzing food scene in a truly scrumptious journey around the city’s mouth-watering culinary map.

  • Sample a selection of dumplings  - Xiao long bao and Sheng jian bao
  • Try stir-fried bullfrog - Shanghai's four-legged answer to the buffalo wing. 
  • Taste the regional specialty: Xie ke huang (yellow crab)
  • Try delicious handmade Shanghai wheat noodles 
  • Savour a selection of desserts for a finale - washed down with huangjiu (yellow wine) 
Food is powerful, enhancing the intensity of the memories we build. It introduces cultures, defines memories and provides a window on a new destination. Tasting the food of a city provides a fascinating insight into its ethnic diversity, history, character and gastronomic trends. In Shanghai, food is at the heart of everything as an integral part of its identity for 3,000 years. Many of the city’s most beloved traditional dishes trace the city’s storied history. Your Private Shanghai Food Tour takes you on a culinary voyage around authentic Shanghainese flavours: a delicious journey through a rich and evolving food scene and influenced by the East China Sea. 

Shanghai’s most iconic dishes like braised eggplant, soft grilled oysters, juicy scallops, delicate mandarin fish, famous xiao long bao soup dumplings, hairy crab nian gao and Di Shui Dong ribs that fall off the bone are all celebrated on the Private Shanghai Food Tour. Learn the secret ingredients behind the most popular recipes and hear the fascinating backstories to exciting taste combinations. A ready supply of Western ingredients have yet to infiltrate Shanghai’s most popular dishes. Our sensory taste-led experience involves plenty of interaction with Shanghainese ingredients and fresh produce. Visit buzzing kitchens, bustling food markets and taste speciality dishes such as Xiao long bao (steamed pork dumplings), Sheng jian bao (pan-fried dumplings), stir-fried bullfrog, Xie ke huang (crab-stuffed pastry), Chang shou mian (wheat noodles), deep-fried wonton and bread cooked in the Xinjiang stone accompanied by a glass of traditional yellow wine. Your gastronomic journey will come to an oh-so-sweet end with a sample range of Shanghainese desserts recommended by your expert guide. The Private Shanghai Food Tour is an authentic immersion in the character and history of Shanghai’s exquisite food so be sure to arrive hungry!


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