Shanghai’s contribution to the world of culinary innovation steamed the Wan Hua Tea House to life back in the 1870s. When the xiao long bao was introduced, it revolutionized the definition of dim sum and continues to please our palates a century later.
The Most Innovative Comfort Food Invented
Traditionally, pork and chicken bones are thrown together in a pot to simmer until the collagen holding these bones together is broken down into stock. This stock is then reduced and chilled into a jelly-like consistency. From there, the gelatinous soup is placed inside raw dumpling skin with a bit of seasoned meat before it is steamed to perfection.
For those of us with an impatient streak, we tend to eat the dumpling whole, its savory soup burning its taste onto our tongues and memories. But there is a proper way of eating it.
1. Let it cool.
When the xiao long bao arrives, it’s piping hot and comes in a bamboo steamer. While you don’t want to burn your tongue (we’ve all learned after the first time) from the soup, you also don’t want to wait too long that the dumpling’s underside becomes prone to breakage.
Not only will the wrapper have a gummy texture but you also will have to bid your soup goodbye in the process.
The trick here is to take your dumplings out first and let these cool on your plate or soup spoon. Pick up the bao by the crimping at the top (the thickest part!) and ready your soup spoon to cradle the bottom.
2. Add some seasoning.
Don’t try dipping your dumpling onto the small bowl of sauce—you’ve gotten this far without tempting fate! Instead, scoop some black vinegar (about ¼ of a teaspoon would do) onto your spoon with some fresh ginger.
This adds another dimension of flavor to your dumpling, so don’t skip this one out.
3. Poke and sip.
While others let the dumpling cool for a bit before eating it whole (and relishing in the soup bomb detonation that happens afterward), you may opt to do this step: using your chopsticks, poke a small hole near the base of the dumpling and let the broth spill onto the spoon. This lessens the heat almost immediately, making your dumpling ready for consumption.
Celebrate Xiao Long Bao Day and practice your chopsticks skills! For every purchase of Din Tai Fung’s Pork Xiaolongbao (P165), you get another order for P5—that’s literally P1 per piece.
This promo is available in Din Tai Fung branches located all over the city. Check them out at Bonifacio Global City, the Mega Fashion Hall, the Power Plant Mall, and Greenbelt. Grab all the dumplings you can today!
If you own a Moment Card, you can avail this promo on November 21, too!
Want to stay home today? We got you covered! Type your address here and we’ll bring Din Tai Fung to your doorstep.
Joyce Claravall | Contributing Editor
A lover of bacsilog, cheese, and hotpot, Joyce harbors a love for meaningful moments with good friends and good food. She believes in saving the best for last so the pizza crust always comes first.