Join Culinary Backstreets

Sign up with email


Already a member? Log in.

Log in to Culinary Backstreets

Trouble logging in?

Not a member? Sign up!

When it comes to Chinese dumplings, fish is likely not the first filling that springs to mind. But that’s probably because you haven’t had the chance to try Liaoning province’s specialty: boiled mackerel dumplings.

Dishes from Liaoning, which is located northeast of Beijing, fall under the regional umbrella of Dongbei (northeastern) cuisine. The staple grain up north is wheat and corn, with noodles, steamed breads and dumpling wrappers supplying most of the carbs in the local diet. The area wraps around the coastline of the Yellow Sea, bringing fresh seafood to the table, and its proximity to the Korean Peninsula means an abundance of pickled veggies.

But despite its fame nationwide, Liaoning cuisine gets very little love in Shanghai. Perhaps it’s the local penchant for sweet flavors – as Dongbei cuisine is more savory and spicy – or just the likelihood that migrants from that area are more likely to move to neighboring Beijing than Shanghai. But in a sprawling city where fewer than 100 restaurants (out of an estimated 100,000) serve mackerel dumplings, Wenxiang Manchurian Dumpling House has made a name for itself.

Its three locations, all located in the former French Concession, look more like coffee shops than dumpling houses. Blond wood tables come topped with fresh flowers in green vases repurposed from Perrier bottles, as well as vinegar and soy sauce dispensers, and the kitchen is separated from the dining room with Japanese noren curtains. The dumplings are made fresh all day long, but if you want to see the action, go to the Guangyuan Road location. Floor-to-ceiling windows lead out to the sidewalk, so you can press your nose against the glass and watch as a gang of ayis hand wraps the dumplings to order.

The mackerel dumplings (made specifically from the species known as Japanese Spanish mackerel – 鲅鱼水饺 Bà yú shuǐjiǎo) are a must-order, but pescatarians beware: the mackerel is mixed with a bit of pork, as well as leeks, to give it a bit more texture.

[Liaoning] wraps around the coastline of the Yellow Sea, bringing fresh seafood to the table.

One of Wenxiang’s specialties is their pork, as they use the meat of Iberico pigs to make their famous pork and northeast Chinese sauerkraut (猪肉酸菜馅 – Zhūròu suāncài xiàn). A better translation might be Chinese kimchi than sauerkraut, as the pickled cabbage historically came from the Korean peninsula rather than Germany. You can also order a spicy version of the kimchi (韩鲜族酸辣白菜 Hán xiǎn zú suān là báicài) as a side dish to your dumplings.

If you’re looking to add some veggies to your diet, order the mushroom and bok choy dumplings (香菇青菜馅 Xiānggū qīngcài xiàn). Or bulk up on the “salad” sides. You can order a mixture of the cold dishes for just RMB 15 or get a full plate of each at the same price. Don’t let the deceptively named “black fungus in sauce” (凉拌黑木耳 Liángbàn hēi mù’ěr) fool you; it’s a delicious wood ear mushroom salad. The “cucumber in sauce” (凉拌黄瓜 – Liángbàn huángguā) and dried bean curd salad (凉拌腐竹 – Liángbàn fǔzhú) could also benefit from a translation assist, but they are also excellent accompaniments to a meal of hearty boiled dumplings.

Export as KML for Google Earth/Google MapsOpen standalone map in fullscreen modeCreate QR code image for standalone map in fullscreen modeExport as GeoJSONExport as GeoRSSExport as ARML for Wikitude Augmented-Reality browser
Wenxiang Manchurian Dumpling House

loading map - please wait...

Wenxiang Manchurian Dumpling House, Guangyuan Location: 31.198915, 121.438627
Wenxiang Manchurian Dumpling House, Yanqing Location: 31.215062, 121.450629
Guangyuan Location:
Address: 192 Guangyuan Rd, near Tianping Rd
Telephone: +86 131 2227 8288
Hours: 9am-9pm
Yanqing Location:
Address: 122 Yanqing Rd, near Huating Rd
Telephone: +86 21 6433 0887
Hours: 11am-9pm
Menu: English & Chinese

Related stories

May 4, 2017

Fly By Jing: Sichuan Supper Club

By Jamie Barys
Shanghai -- Whether we’re heading to Sichuan province for a little culinary vacation or just looking for the best bowl of dan dan mian in the city, there’s one person we call for dining recommendations: Jenny Gao. Born in Chengdu and raised in Canada, Gao’s family still lives in Sichuan, and since moving to Shanghai…
yunnan restaurants shanghai
June 12, 2017

Goat Cheese and Fried Honeybees: Shanghai's Top 5 Yunnan Restaurants

By Jamie Barys
Shanghai -- Because of its location, topography and climate, Yunnan province resembles little of what many Westerners think of as “China.” The north is home to mountainous forests full of wild mushrooms and tribes tending goats, while down south tropical flowers and fruits grow in the hot, humid lowlands. More than 25 of China’s 55…
May 24, 2017

Tonkatsu Hamachan: Filet-o-Pork

By Jamie Barys
Shanghai -- When Tonkatsu Hamachan first opened in 2001, it became an industry favorite – one of those places chefs, foodies and lifestyle journalists kept to themselves. Perhaps they closely guarded this spot because the dining room barely fit six tables, most of which were usually occupied by Japanese businessmen. The restaurant itself refrained from…