Gong Xi Fa Cai!

3 Feb

Happy Year of the (Metal) Rabbit! I briefly entertained the idea of posting a rabbit recipe in observance of the beginning of Chinese New Year, but thought that might be a bit gruesome for SOK readers. Plus, all the cute bunny decorations that have been filling the KL malls don’t exactly put me in the mood for hasenpfeffer. So instead, I’m going to write about another auspicious New Year’s food: dumplings.

Is there anything more delicious than a dumpling? Even the word is fun to say. Somehow everything tastes better when you wrap it in dough. And you can wrap anything, even soup. Behold the xiao long pao (小籠包):

Soupy delights await within

I know, it doesn’t look like much. Dumplings never do: their charms lie hidden under that bland pastry, like some culinary metaphor for inner beauty. In which case xiao long bao is, I don’t know, Clark Kent or something, because within its mild-mannered exterior lies…hot, hot soup. The unsuspecting diner who bites into an unbroken xiao long bao is liable to get a burnt mouth. (Here’s a primer on how to eat one of these things properly.) If you avoid scalding your tongue, however, and the xiao long bao holds its structural integrity, the effect is magic: savory broth and pork filling with a delicate, yet sturdy, pasta-like wrapping. It’s like having an entire wonton soup in one bite.

Okay, so traditional New Year’s dumplings are not xiao long bao. (And hiding a coin in a dumpling full of hot soup seems like a bad idea, anyway.) But if you happen to see these on the menu at your local Shanghainese restaurant, be sure to give them a try…just not in one bite.


2 Responses to “Gong Xi Fa Cai!”


  1. Shanghai-ed « Straight Out of Kampung - August 18, 2011

    […] Shanghainese meal is complete without xiao long bao, those soup-filled dumplings I blogged about here. This time I was able to eat them (sort of) properly, and I’m happy to say I shlorped up the […]

  2. SOK’s Autumn Vacation, Part One: Pig Ears and Haute Dogs « Straight Out of Kampung - October 5, 2011

    […] like being my mom’s lunch date. (It’s a hard life.) My mom was keen on having xiao long bao, and has recently become hooked on the Yelp app, which is how we ended up having dim sum at a […]

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