Everyone who likes Dim Sum loves them – Xiao Long Bao – the steamed soup dumplings. What a delicious invention! But actually not every one knows them. So what exactly is a SOUP dumpling and where is it the best to savour them?
I discovered those little delicious gems somewhere between Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. It was love at first bite. The way the hot soup melts on your tongue, the mixture of vinegar/soy sauce/ginger penetrating into the dumpling and the taste when the little ensemble meets your palate…YUM!
Today I would like to suggest two of my preferred restaurants where you find the most delicious soup dumplings. Don’t worry, they both belong to a chain, so can find them in different places around the world. But first come first…
What is a soup dumpling?
Yes what exactly is a SOUP dumpling ?! I did wonder back then. I love dumplings. All kind of dumplings. The Polish Pierogi, the Russian Piroshki, the Japanease Gyoza… But a soup dumpling? A dumpling in a soup? Well, no. Quite the opposite – a soup in a dumpling! Yes correct. The meat inside the dumpling (pork, chicken, shimp) is swimming in a small amount of broth, wrapped in a delicate dough skin, which is pleated, twisted and then steamed. Heaven! For me the best part of the ‘Chinease Tapas’ – as I call Dim Sum.
How to eat Xiao Long Bao?
Step 1 – Pour vinegar and soy sauce into a ginger dish. The suggested ratio is: 1 part soy sauce to 3 parts vinegar
Step 2 – Dip the dumpling in the sauce (try it also once without the sauce to savor the original flavor)
Step 3 – Place the dumpling on the spoon and poke a small hole to release the broth inside
Step 4 – Enjoy the dumpling with the broth and some ginger. Be careful, it’s hot!
Din Tai Fung – Classic, world-famous for Xiao Long Bao (Taiwanease)
The Michelin-starred restaurant has always been on people’s minds for their famous soup dumplings. The well-established player in the classic Taiwaneses restaurant scene since 1972 is famous for their Xiao Long Bao. The steamed pork dumplings are the signature dish of the restaurant which originally started as a cooking oil retail shop in the late 50s. As the consumption patterns of cooking oil changed in the early 70s and the business was threatened, the shop had transformed into a restaurant specialising in Xiao Long Bao.
The quality and exceptional taste of the dumplings attracted many customers and the success of Din Tai Fung began. It started to rain awards. In 1993 DTF was named one of ten ‘Top-Notch Tables’ by The New York Times. In 2010 the Hong Kong branch was awarded one Michelin star and remained it for five years. In 2013 DTF was ranked number 1 in the list of the ‘101 Best Restaurants in Asia’ published by The Daily Meal. CNN named DTF world’s second best chain for travelers. 2014 Top Chinease restaurant by TripAdvisor KL. In 2015 ranked among the top 50 restaurants in the world by UK Magazine Monocole and awarded Innovative Chinease Restaurant at Malaysia Tourism Awards. 2017 Best Chinease Restaurant in the TimeOut KL Food & Drink Awards, followed by 2018 one of ten winners for top restaurants in the iNPenang Best Restaurants Awards.
Well, what can I say? The awards are really justified. The world-famous soup dumplings are succulent, fresh and just yummy!
Paradise Dynasty – Innovative Rainbow Xiao Long Bao (Chinease)
While DTF features pork, chicken and shrimp dumplings – which you order either or, Paradise Dynasty invented something different to play a tasting game with the palate. The Rainbow dumplings ! It’s a collection of 8 different flavours of soup dumplings: Original (pork), Ginseng, Foie Gras, Black Truffle, Cheese, Crab Roe, Garlic, Szechuan. You eat them in that specific order for the taste to evolve. Starting with the ‘plain’ one in the middle, going clockwise and finishing with the spiciest. A real treat if you ask me!
The brand claims the soup dumplings to be ‘first-of-its-kind legendary Xiao Long Bao‘ and I agree!
Paradise Dynasty is a part of a large chain – Paradise Group, with a total of 11 culinary concepts across 9 countries, with 50 restaurants in Singapore and more than 60 restaurants worldwide. You might be lucky to find one near you! Please try!!!
I personally tend to chose rather small, cute restaurants with atmosphere when I travel. The Authentic, the Local. You know what I mean. However those two brands were really worth changing my mind. Constant quality for many years, on all my visits. What can I say, they are large but still very authentic. And super tasty. Bon Appetit !
If you liked this article you might as well like the one I wrote on Polish Christmas Traditions (with very special kind of dumplings).