Xiao long bao, also known as soup dumplings, are a popular Chinese delicacy that have been enjoyed for over a century. These steamed dumplings are filled with juicy pork and savory broth, making them a perfect comfort food on a chilly day. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the history, preparation, and best ways to enjoy xiao long bao.
Xiao long bao originated in the Jiangnan region of China, specifically in the city of Shanghai. The dumplings were created in the late 19th century by a street vendor who was inspired by the northern Chinese dumplings, but wanted to create a smaller, bite-sized version that could be easily consumed on the go.
The name “xiao long bao” translates to “little basket bun” in English, which refers to the traditional bamboo baskets that the dumplings are steamed in. Over time, xiao long bao gained popularity across China and eventually became a global sensation, with many restaurants around the world now serving their own versions of the dish.
The key to making delicious xiao long bao lies in the delicate balance of the filling and the dough. The filling consists of ground pork, ginger, scallions, and a small amount of soup broth. The broth is created by simmering pork bones and aromatics for several hours, and then allowing it to cool and solidify into a jelly-like consistency. This broth is then mixed into the filling, creating a juicy and flavorful filling that oozes out of the dumplings when they are steamed.
The dough for xiao long bao is made from flour, water, and a small amount of yeast. The dough is rolled out into thin circles, and a small amount of filling is placed in the center. The edges of the dough are then pleated and pinched together to create a sealed dumpling. The dumplings are then steamed in bamboo baskets for several minutes, allowing the broth inside to melt and create a delicious soup.
Best Ways to Enjoy Xiao Long Bao
Xiao long bao are best enjoyed hot and fresh out of the steamer. To eat them, carefully pick up the dumpling with chopsticks and place it in a spoon. Then, use a small bite to create a small hole in the dough and allow the broth to flow out. Take small sips of the broth, and then enjoy the rest of the dumpling in one or two bites.
In addition to enjoying xiao long bao on their own, they can also be paired with a variety of sauces and sides. The most common sauce for xiao long bao is a mixture of black vinegar and julienned ginger, which adds a tangy and spicy flavor to the dumplings. Other popular accompaniments include steamed rice, bok choy, and hot and sour soup.
In that sense, Xiao long bao are a delicious and comforting dish that have captured the hearts and taste buds of people around the world. Whether enjoyed as a quick snack or as part of a larger meal, these soup dumplings are sure to satisfy any craving for savory and juicy flavors. So next time you’re in the mood for something delicious, head to your local Chinese restaurant and order a steaming basket of xiao long bao.