Lu Bo Lang is a "xiao chi" or small eats restaurant located opposite Nanxiang Steamed Bun restaurant near the Yuyuan Garden and City of God Temple. It has been a well known Shanghainese culinary institution for a very long time, having gained widespread global fame thanks to a host of famous visitors, including Queen Elizabeth II, Fidel Castro, and President Clinton amongst others. It is, thus, popular with locals and tourists alike.
We arrived for lunch fairly late, and with a large dinner in the offing, and many a filling meal already safely in the tummy from the previous days - this being the final day of our China trip - elected to keep the ordering relatively light here.
The first dish to arrive turned out to be the undisputed star of the entire show, the Selected Snow Shape Pastry - a lovely flaky pastry filled with shredded radish. We started with it, and ended the meal with a second serving; it was that good.
Gimmicky Fashion Bag-Shape Pastry was very similar but not nearly as well executed - the pastry considerably thicker; but the crab roe filling still very enjoyable.
Wuliangye Wine Special Lagao Cake Pastry with Minced Jujube was served with a message: "it will stick to the plate, but not to your teeth", the waitress duly turning the plate over to prove the point. And indeed she was right - it was nice and gooey, but did not stick.
Steamed Buns Stuffed with Pork & Vegetable was decent, Pastry with Minced Jujube had a filling that was sweet, but too thick for my liking, Steamed Glutinous Rice Cake with Preserved Ham was very average, and Noodle with Shelled Shrimps in Soup was bland and completely tasteless.
Finally, Steamed Buns Stuffed with Pure Crab Meat, or xiao long bao to you and me, continued the trend of thick-skinned dumplings.
In a nutshell...
One outstanding dish, a majority of decent ones, and a couple of particularly poor ones make for a middling score. Probably one of those eating places you have to visit when in Shanghai on account of its fame, and worth it too just for the excellent, naffly titled (I'm sure its much more sensible and meaningful in Mandarin) Selected Snow Shape Pastry. Given its reputation, prices are, unsurprisingly, rather steep.
Lu Bo Lang
115 Yuyuan Road, Shanghai, China
+86 (0) 21-63280602
Average Price: RMB250-RMB300