Find out where real people eat, drink, and spend time in Shanghai by following our community of GoEast teachers and students.
毛瑞 Maria Mao is the Co-Founder of GoEast and the lead Language Consultant at the Shanghai Library Campus. She loves to show off her 麻将 (Májiàng) Mahjong skills and plays Ultimate Frisbee competitively.
Where are we?
We are in the original 南翔馒头店 Nánxiáng Xiǎolóngbāo in 豫园 (Yù Yuán) Yuyuan Gardens. We came here in the morning because before 8:00am you can eat like a local, after 8:00am they change the shop to cater to tourists. It’s a bit cheaper in the morning as well and you get the fresh made 小笼包 (xiǎolóngbāo) soup dumplings. You can also eat in, sitting on the second floor of the store if you come early, after 10am this area is closed.
What Should We Order?
The typical order is the traditional steamed pork 小笼包 (xiǎolóngbāo) soup dumplings, I also reccomend the shrimp and crab. They also have one that is just stuffed with herbs, called wild vegetable. Another perk to coming in the morning is they have things on the menu they don’t offer for lunch, like pastries and appetizers (we went for the 春卷 chūn juǎn, spring rolls).
If you get to 豫园 Yù Yuán Gardens before the tourists start coming in, not only can you get better 小笼包 (xiǎolóngbāo) soup dumplings but you can also see how the locals start their day. You will find lots of ayis doing exercise and 太极拳 (tai ji) tai chi. It’s also not uncommon to see rows of bird cages, they are taken out by their owners for a daily dose of sunshine. It is well worth the early wake up call!