Shanghai Soup Buns – XiaoLongBao

by katerina on September 27, 2007

My new discovery, my new craving, my new addiction. I am certainly not the first to fall in love with these beautifully constructed little dumplings and I won’t be the last. These are a specific Shanghai specialty called XiaoLongBao or Xiao Long Bao. The secret, or specialty is a dumpling that not only contains meat but soup as well. With the first little bite you suck the soup from the dumpling. Then you dip the remainder in vinegar and chow down. I have had them at three different places – the first was Jia Jia Tang Bao near the Jig’an Temple metro station in Shanghai, a chowhound recommendation. The second was in the Ruijin Guesthouse grounds in Xiao Nan Guo and the third in this little breakfast place under the metro stop at Zhang Jiang technology Park. All were fabulous and unforgettable.

I think there is a lot of truth in the idea that food can be a gateway to memories – and therefore permanent souvenirs of traveling. Though I haven’t even gotten back yet I have already googled a few recipes on how to make these. I was quite curious about how one gets the soup inside but once I read up on it it made perfect sense – aspic! I knew Julia Child would eventually start to haunt my life. Stay tuned for my trials and tribulations of making these at home.. as well as other interesting stories from my trip to Shanghai, after I actually get back that is.

These are the ones from Jia Jia Tang Bao – the plain old Pork kind. No one their spoke english but they had a little scrap of paper with the english translations so you could order – this cost about $2CAD.

Secondly these are the ones from Xiao Nan Guo – these were a little pricier as I was in a fancier place. I am not actually sure what is in them as I just let the waiter recommend something to me. They were quite different but both absolutely delicious. Alas, for the the third set I was with my boss and a wee bit to timid to whip out the camera, my loss.

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