If you haven’t heard of Xiao Long Bao, it’s about time that you do. You absolutely must try this at least once in your life. This delectable steamed soup dumpling is named after the small bamboo basket it is steamed in. Inside the dumpling are pockets of minced meat and gelatinized broth made of chicken, pork or cured ham. When steamed, the gelatin melts inside the dumpling and the soup bursts into deliciousness in your mouth.
The graceful way I eat this is to bite a small hole into the dumpling and sip out the juice before taking the whole dumpling. A word of caution… wait a few minutes to cool the dumpling before devouring though – the last thing you want is to ruin the whole experience by burning yourself.
My first encounter with this Shanghainese specialty was in 1991, in Taiwan – the very first branch of Din Tai Fung, I recently learned. And for a very long time, I could only dream of it. It took me 10 long years to feast on these babies again, this time in Shanghai. It took perhaps another 5 years for Xiao Long Bao to make its way to the Philippines. Eat Well is a favorite and very recently, Crystal Jade opened its doors in Greenhills supposedly offering excellent xiao long baos. The long line turned me off so I have yet to judge for myself.
Recently however, I came full circle when a few months ago in Beijing and more recently in Singapore, I saw myself in Din Tai Fung for a treat of my favorite dumpling (and more). Din Tai Fung has become known for their delectable dumplings for decades and opened up franchises in many Asian countries but sadly not in the Philippines (yet). I saw that they’ve expanded their dumplings to more than just their signature Xiao Long Bao. They now have chicken, fish and even a vegetarian dumpling.
Though I was a bit disappointed with the vegetarian dumplings, their signature dish remains to be my favorite and
I so totally enjoyed their pork chops and almond jelly dessert. So really even if XLB made them what they are today, it isn’t just all about dumplings at Din Tai Fung. If you find yourself in a neighborhood with Din Tai Fung near you, don’t hesitate at all. Click here to see where they are around the globe.
Where to get XLB in the Philippines:
Eat Well Delicious Kitchen (sounds tacky but they really serve up delicious meals)At The Fort Unit C, Ground Floor, Net Quad Building, 30th-31st St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig For Reservation and Pickup only: +632 856-9408 At Greenhills Missouri St. cor. Connecticut St., Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines Phone Number: +632 722-8518
Crystal Jade Unit 117-121 (near Haagen Dazs and Goodwill Bookstore) V-Mall, Greenhills Shopping Center Greenhills, San Juan City, Metro Manila Phone Number: +632 570-6910, 570-6912