Bad weather won't stop anyone getting their seasonal snack

Tangyuan, an essential treat for Lantern Festival, remains as popular today as ever.

Despite wind and rain, long queues grew outside the Wang Jia Sha flagship store on Nanjing Road W. on Monday, as customers lined to buy tangyuan, an essential treat for Tuesday's Lantern Festival.

Wang Jia Sha, opened in 1945, sells tangyuan with a variety of fillings from sweet sesame to salty pork. The best-seller is crab meat and roe.

“Since Thursday last week, we have sold nearly 20,000 boxes of tangyuan each day. About 25 percent of sales are for crab meat and roe,” said Liu Chongliang, manager of the flagship store.

He said most of the customers have been coming for years.

“I spent my childhood around here and cannot forget the taste of Wang Jia Sha’s tangyuan. So, I come every year to buy them,” said Shen, 70, who now lives in Hongkou District.

“I waited for about half an hour and bought six boxes. We will enjoy them tomorrow night. It’s a family tradition to eat Wang Jia Sha’s tangyuan on Lantern Festival,” he said.

Liu Hongsheng, also 70, came with his 5-year-old grandson. He bought five boxes of crab meat and roe and one box of salty yolk with meat floss.

“I buy from Wang Jia Sha every year. My family love it, and my grandson especially likes the crab meat variety,” he said.

The store has some special offers for the festival, including shrimp and crab meat, sweet soybean paste, as well as salty yolk with meat floss. They are only available a week ahead of the festival.

To meet the supply, about 30 dumpling makers in the store work from 6am to 8pm every day. Zhou Yongqing, the youngest at 33 years old, has been making tangyuan in the store for 16 years.

“Each one of us makes 1,500 to 1,600 every day,” he said.

Nearby Mei Xin Dim Sum was also crowded with customers during the holiday.

“Recently, we sold more than 30,000 tangyuan per day,” said Xue Qiyong, 64, a master who has been working there since 1973. “I remember years ago when people came to the shop around midnight and waited until we opened at 5am to buy tangyuan. Every Spring Festival, I work overtime.”

His dedication has paid off.

“Many important people and foreign guests visit our shop,” he said. “Some buy frozen tangyuan to take home as gifts to friends.”

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Workers at Wang Jia Sha make tangyuan during the holiday.

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Liu Hongsheng takes his grandson to buy tangyuan at Wang Jia Sha.

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