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Shanghai Street Food #36 Wonton Soup: Huntun Tang 馄饨汤

“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.” So goes advice for a long life from American writer and nutritionist Adelle Davis (1904-1974).

It’s a guilty pleasure of mine, to dine out often for breakfast, and I always think of Adelle’s quote as I do so, tucking into a steamer basket full of dumplings, or scrambled eggs and hot tea. If it’s a cold day or I’m very hungry, I usually have a bowl of comforting wonton soup at the breakfast shop Fujian Dumpling Soup King on Xiangyang Lu. I like Dumpling Soup King because it has proper tables and chairs and sometimes I just want to sit for breakfast, rather than standing and walking with my food. Can you imagine trying to eat a bowl of wonton soup while walking? Messy.

The other nice thing about Dumpling Soup King is they don’t mind if you bring food from any of the other breakfast shops alongside. Many customers like to eat something with crunch (like youtiao fried dough sticks, or crispy rice squares, or crisp-bottomed shengjianbao dumplings) with their soft, slippery soup.

Pork wontons

These wontons are mere slips of things, ephemeral little sheets of wheat dough with a tiny heart of savoury meat – usually pork, sometimes with shrimp added. A handful go into the pot of boiling water to cook, then added to a ladleful of pure, sweet, clear broth. On top of the broth go crispy browned scallion shreds and a little coriander, and you can add vinegar or lajiao chili paste to taste.

In between customers, the boys in the kitchen throw together another dozen or so wontons (known in Chinese as either huntun or hundun depending on what part of the country you’re in). A little pork, a shrimp, a twist, and you’re done. Bigger, more substantial dumplings are filled with pork meat or sometimes beef.

 

Huntun production line, with a morning’s worth of wonton wrappers
Hearty huntun

 

Fujian Dumpling Soup King, Xiangyang Lu near ChangeLu. Pyjamas optional.
Price: 9-12 yuan per bowl, depending on which huntun you choose.
 
More Shanghai Street Foods – The Complete Guide:
Number 1   Roast Sweet Potatoes

Number 2   Snack-on-a-stick 
Number 3   Liangpi – a spicy cold noodle dish
Number 4   Langzhou Lamian – hand-pulled noodles
Number 5   Cong You Bing – fried shallot pancakes
Number 6   Baozi – steamed buns, Shanghai style
Number 7   Jian Bing – the famous egg pancake
Number 8   Dan Gao – street cakes
Number 9   Shao mai – sticky rice treats
Number 10  Summer on a Stick – fresh fruits

 
 
Number 11  You Tiao – deep-fried breadsticks
Number 12  Dan Juan – egg rolls
Number 13  Shao Kao – street barbecue
Number 14  Bao Mi Hua – exploding rice flowers
Number 15  Chou Doufu – stinky tofu
Number 16  Bing Tang Shan Zha – crystal sugar hawthorns
Number 17  Mutton Polo
Number 18  Yumi Bang – puffed corn sticks
Number 19  Mian Hua Tang – cotton candy
Number 20  You Dunzi – fried radish cakes
 
Number 21  Suzhou Shi Yue Bing – homestyle mooncakes 
Number 22  Gui Hua Lian’ou – honeyed lotus root stuffed with sticky rice
Number 23  Cong You Ban Mian – scallion oil noodles
Number 24  Guotie – potsticker dumplings
Number 25  Nuomi Cai Tou – fried clover pancakes
Number 26  Da Bing, Shao Bing – sesame breakfast pastries
Number 27  Ci Fan – sticky rice breakfast balls
Number 28  Gui Hua Gao – steamed osmanthus cake
Number 29  Zongzi – bamboo leaf wrapped sticky rice
Number 30  Shengjianbao – pan-fried dumplings

Number 31  Mala Tang – DIY spicy soup
Number 32  Salt and Pepper Fried Chicken
Number 33  San Xian Doupi – Three Delicacies Wrapped in Tofu Skin
Number 34  Jidan Bing – savoury egg puffs
Number 35  Shiliu Zhi – pressed pomegranate juice
Number 36  Huntun Tang – wonton soup