[Shanghai] Da Hu Chun 大壶春
大壶春 Da Hu Chun | Dianping
Address: 云南南路71号(近金陵东路) – 71 Yunnan South Rd near Jinling East Rd (Metro Line 8 大世界 Da Shi Jie Stop) (黄浦区 Huangpu District)
Date visited: 2013.04
Verdict: Hands down the best place for sheng jian bao
Will return: Definitely
Sheng jian bao (生煎包), my greatest love. This is it, the real deal. This is as Shanghainese as it gets. Forget foie gras, monkfish liver, and uni; sheng jian bao is without a doubt my favorite food. The three characters sheng (生) jian (煎) bao (包) literally translate to raw fried bun because the raw meat and bao (bun) are directly fried without any precooking.
Da Hu Chun (大壶春) is one of my favorite places to eat sheng jian bao. There are multiple locations in Shanghai but the Da Shi Jie (大世界) location is supposed to be the best. It’s one of those super local places that doesn’t really cater to foreigners but don’t let that discourage you. Just memorize the words sheng jian bao and hold up however many orders you want with your fingers. Piece of cake.
The menu has four items on it. Here is a translation of the menu:
- 鲜肉生煎包 Pork Sheng Jian Bao RMB¥6/4 pieces
- 大草虾鲜肉生煎包 Pork Sheng Jian Bao with Shrimp RMB¥10/4 pieces
- 咖喱牛肉汤 Curry Beef Soup ¥7/bowl
- 千张粉丝汤 Tofu Stuffed with Meat in Vermicelli Noodle Soup ¥7/bowl
Not sure what the fifth item was; they either ran out of it that day or no longer offer it permanently. Doesn’t matter. Just focus on the sheng jian bao.
I usually eat around 4-6 pieces. 8 pieces (two orders) is always just slightly too much for me. But if you are a guy, you should get at least two orders.
鲜肉生煎包 Pork Sheng Jian Bao (RMB¥6/4 pieces)
The bun is partly fried crisp and partly still fluffy. The pork inside the bao is very well seasoned. Even though sheng jian bao is supposed to be salty, there is a hint of sweetness at the same time. This is common in Southern Chinese food (North likes salty); a prominent example of Southern food is braised pork belly, which is sweet because it is cooked with rock sugar.
At restaurants, you will often see sheng jian bao fried at the bottom for presentation purposes but that is not the case here. Authentic Shanghai sheng jian bao can be fried at any part (top, bottom, side), not just at the bottom.
大草虾鲜肉生煎 Pork Sheng Jian Bao with Shrimp (RMB¥10/4 pieces)
The only difference between this and the above is that there is a piece of shrimp inside the bao. It still uses the same pork for the ball inside the bao. I don’t really care for shrimp so I never get this for myself but if you like shrimp, this is a nice little spin on traditional sheng jian bao.
千张粉丝汤 Tofu Stuffed with Meat in Vermicelli Noodle Soup (RMB¥7)
Good but not completely necessary. Just bring some water for the shengjianbao.