This popular early-morning hangout specialises in a particular variety of steamed dumpling which comes from the the old southern capital of Hangzhou and which is known as xiao long bao.
Small, fluffy and filled with pork, xiao long bao are best eaten with a savoury porridge (my favourite here is the millet porridge, xiao mi zhou) and should be dipped in either vinegar (cu) or soy sauce (jiang you), both of which you’ll find on your table in this decidedly no-frills restaurant.
The dumplings are served in bamboo baskets. Each basket contains 10 dumplings, usually enough for two people, and costs a wallet-friendly ¥4.5.
Steamed dumplings such as these are normally eaten for breakfast. In fact, come here between 7am and 7.30am on a week day and you’ll find the place packed to the rafters with hungry teenage school kids – always a good sign that the food is both tasty and cheap.
There are various other dishes available – soups, noodles, rice combos – but this place is all about the breakfast dumplings.
Walk them off with a stroll around nearby Drum & Bell Square.
Baochao Hutong, off Gulou Dongdajie
Gulou Dajie (1km)