Considered a dim sum or snack, the steamed soup dumpling originates from Nanxiang, a suburb of Shanghai. Hence, xiao long bao is a specialty food associated with the metropolitan city.
The dumplings typically fill a delicately thin wrapper with ground pork and its broth. Variations can include additional ingredients to add indulgences, such as black truffle, crab, or foie gras.
The xiao long bao eating experience is one of a kind.
First, you must carefully transport the piece from the basket to your spoon. Then, nibble the skin to drink in the steaming hot broth inside the dumpling. The first taste of the broth opens up your senses to the deep flavor of the pork. After savoring the soup, add slivers of ginger and the vinegar sauce to enjoy the rest of the dumpling.
From the first sip to the last bite, you will experience an explosion of flavors on your palate.
Din Tai Fung in Shanghai
While xiao long bao originates from Shanghai, a world-renown restaurant from Taipei produces some of the best soup dumplings.
Din Tai Fung prides themselves with a high-quality of ingredients, preparation, and presentation of the dumplings. They also have impressively quick service and clean restaurants (considering the crowds of eaters).
Must orders from the extensive menu include the original pork xiao long bao, the pork and crab roe xiao long bao, and the foie gras and pork xiao long bao. In Shanghai, look for items with hairy crab, a regional and seasonal specialty with a remarkably intense crab flavor.
Shanghai has 8 Din Tai Fung outlets, including a store in Xintiandi and the Shanghai World Financial Center – a perfect food stop while sightseeing.