One of our new discoveries is Xiao Long Bao. Soup Dumplings.
Our friend Amy (or was it Denys) introduced us to them when he/she was in town. Until then we were unsure what to make of them or how to eat them. Since then we have become converts. Amy explained her method of eating them, and it has since become “the” method by which we tell everyone to follow 🙂
Soup dumplings are genius. The broth is cooked with meat and seasoning and then chilled so it can be worked with. The gelatinous gravy is then worked into a dumpling along with a dallop of wonderful, warming, good for the soul ground pork. Then when ready to serve the dumpling is steamed and the solid gravy turns back in to liquid to make a dumpling filled with soup.
Sublime. Melts in your mouth. Warms your soul. Feels like home. All of these describe the simple broth and pork mixture inside. Few (if any?) Chinese dishes do that for me. But the flavours from these dumplings are pitch perfect and they come as close to comfort food as anything I’ve had on the island.
The trick to eating them (this part I am certain comes from Amy) is to place the dumpling on your Chinese soup spoon. Using your chop sticks hold the dumpling in place as you bring it to your mouth and bite just the tip off the top. Then using your chop sticks add in a few pieces of shredded ginger from the vinegar provided. Pop the whole thing in your mouth and enjoy. If you are feel a bit more self conscious you can sip at the dumpling first to remove some of the juice. Either way, happiness.
Din Tai Fung has the best so far, but lots of places on the island have them and they are all good. Yum Cha has good ones as well.