美食鉴定团又出发咯！This time, TheHungryCow and I joined 933FM DJs Jiafa and Weibin at Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant 南翔馒头店. The original restaurant in Shanghai (in Cheng Huang Temple 城隍庙 area) is more than 100 years old, and has a perpetual queue eager for a taste of authentic xiao long bao 小笼包 (soup dumplings).
Our tasting session was held at Nanxiang’s newest outlet in City Square Mall. This is Nanxiang’s second branch in Singapore; they have another outlet in Bugis Junction.
We were all fascinated by the wall partitions and hanging lamps made out of real bamboo baskets. Nanxiang’s PR spokesperson told us that they were once the cause of a bamboo steamer shortage. That’s because they had bought out ALL the bamboo steamers in Singapore to decorate their restaurants!
Lots of food porn coming up!
Chicken steeped in rice wine. Chilled, succulent, with a hint of booze. Mmm…a nice but naughty teaser for the rest of the feast!
We smelled the aroma of salted egg yolk even before this dish was plonked on the table. Gone in flash!
No lions were harmed in the making of this dish! But some pigs were. 😛
How about some crunchy greens to take some guilt off the meat fest?
Here’s Nanxiang’s signature dish. It’s like a giant xiao long bao…with a straw!
We learned that the bun skin is not meant to be consumed. It’s very thick, and is used as a vessel for stock within. First, they wrap gelatinous stock in dough. After steaming, it melts into concentrated, scalding hot soup. In the meantime, the dough skin maintains the soup’s heat.
Have you ever consumed soup with a straw? It’s so fun! The stock is super rich with crab meat.
The pan-fried dumplings are artfully presented in a delicate, lattice-like crust.
Besides xiao long bao, pan-fried pork bun or 生煎包 is another Shanghai specialty. These buns are cooked using the steam-fry method. They’re full of hot meat juices, careful when you bite into one!
Nanxiang has 8 varieties of xiao long bao to choose from. Besides crab roe, we also tried the spicy version. It was full of kick!
Apparently, the xiao long bao served in Singapore has been modified to suit local palates. The authentic Shanghai version has much thicker dough skin, which Singaporeans didn’t take to. So the chefs at Nanxiang experimented to produce a skin that’s half as thin as the original version, but resilient enough to retain the same amount of filling.
We thought we couldn’t manage any more food. But we just couldn’t resist these sweet, dainty pastries!
These cigar-like bread rolls filled with yam paste were very more-ish.
But my favorite sweet was the golden pumpkin cake. They were hollow puffs of soft, chewy pumpkin. Reminds me of my favorite hum soei kok!
Felix, the operations manager, was a most gracious and knowledgeable host.
We were joined by four 933FM listeners, who were winners of last week’s program. Unlike the previous outing which was more rambunctious (thanks to Auntie Lucy and her fans), this dinner was more intimate and cosy.
If you’d like to join Jiafa and Weibin on their next foodie outing, tune in to this evening’s segment on YES 93.3FM from 6pm to 7pm. Join the contest to win invites to the next outing!
Click here to read Jiafa’s blog post!
Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant
180 Kitchener Road
#04-15/16 City Square Mall (Farrer Park MRT station)
Tel: (65) 6509 9134