I have been exposed to the world of Xiaolongbao, which means ‘Little Basket Bun’, or as I like to call them delicious or things I never should have known about for now I am obsessed.
They are a famous Shanghai dumpling, bite size and so cute! I didn’t eat a lot of meat before and having arrived in China. I have been avoiding when I can in China but meat is a seasoning and garnish I have found. When it comes to these buns from heaven my meat ban goes out the window. Inside the mini bun is a filling of pork and I hear they can also come with pork and crab. Sounds like a regular dumpling, right? Well unlike other dumplings, these bites of happiness come with soup, inside the bun. When the meat is steamed, it produces the rich broth. OMG!
It is a skill to make these to not lose the broth and a skill to eat them. You use your chopsticks and a spoon. You pick up the dumpling from the steamer basket using your chopsticks, by the top of the dumpling, being careful not to spear, slice or do anything else that will pierce the dumpling (you would lose the goodness inside) I then placed it in a little bowl that had a combo of vinegar and soy sauce in it and then back on the spoon. Where you have to bite a little hole in the dumpling to release steam and you dump some of the broth on to your spoon. This is all to prevent scalding your mouth. Some drink the soup in the spoon first and then eat the dumpling; I ate the dumpling and had my spoon soup as a chaser. They are so yummy!
Although brave to eat them…. I haven’t yet to have them on the street… I have gone to a place called Din Tai Fung, a Taiwan restaurant once voted by the NYT as one of the World’s Ten Best Restaurants. They are a clean environment that serves Shanghai street food. There is a location in LA if ever there.
If visiting Shanghai and me, in addition to the Bund Tourist Tunnel we will be going for these little treasures.