As a blogger, I have an obsession with taking photos of everything, no matter where I am. Capturing the moment is just second nature, especially with food.
One of my favorite food subjects is xiao long bao. It’s a soup dumpling consisting of a paper thin wrapper enveloping a seasoned pork filling with hot, flavorful soup and is literally, a “little basket bun”.
Jia Jia Tang Bao is definitely your classic hole-in-the-wall (not-so-hidden) gem, that’s small, crowded and where you’ll find the best Xiao Long Bao in Shanghai! Just be sure to get there early, there’s always a long line in front of the restaurant.
We ordered 3 baskets of xiao long baos: 2 regular pork and 1 pork & crab which were brimming with a generous mix of minced pork and crab wrapped in a delicate translucent skin. Its soup broth has a sweet satisfying flavor that’s pure joy.
As a food lover, you’ve probably heard of Din Tai Fung (and maybe already eaten there?). It’s a restaurant that started in Taipei and known for it’s juicy soup dumplings that burst open with a cascade of porky broth.
One of the most iconic symbols of eating at Din Tai Fung anywhere you are in the world is the small army of dumpling makers sporting white shirts, white aprons, white hats and masks making dumplings at a rapid pace by the quantities.
While Super Juicy Dumpling has a full menu, by far their most popular dish is their xiao long bao. They have a regular and sweet version that’s just as savory, including a fist-size version that comes with a straw. It’s little known and not as flashy as the other xiao long bao restaurants.
Another destination for xiao long bao – Paradise Dynasty, with the moniker “Legend of Xiao Long Bao”. Their signature item is the “Specialty Dynasty” xiao long bao, an eight rainbow-colored dumpling basket. It’s located a few steps away from Din Tai Fung, making it easy to compare who’s the real legend of XLB at South Coast Plaza.
How to eat a xiao long bao:
- Put soy sauce and vinegar into the bowl with sliced ginger.
- Take the soup dumpling and dip it into the sauce.
- Then put the dumpling into your spoon, and poke a hole in the wrapper of the dumpling to release the juices.
- And eat.
Discovering Xiao Long Bao is its own adventure. Trust me, don’t miss your chance to try your own juicy dumplings. You’ll be surprised how many you can eat.