Chinese food, as I’m sure you’re aware of, is pretty famous all over the world. However, the food served in China often tastes and looks very different from the Western version that so many of us are used to. The real deal also varies A LOT depending on where you are within China, as different regions have very different styles and specialities.
One of Shanghai’s famous specialities is something called Xiaolongbao – the steamed soup dumpling. And they are frickin amazing.
Xiaolongbao at its best has a thin, almost translucent skin made of flour, and is stuffed with a juicy filling of your choice (my favorites are ground chicken and pork) which then forms a soup inside the dumpling as it’s steamed in a bamboo steamer basket. They are served hot in their steamer basket and can be dipped in some vinegar and/or soy for extra flavor. The taste is sooo juicy and savory.
I’ve been going nuts with xiaolongbao since I got here, and if you are in Shanghai you just have to try them! But I’m warning you, they will leave you with some serious cravings.
The best restaurant so far for soup dumplings is the popular Taiwanese chain Din Tai Fung. Their heavenly xiaolongbao is a lot pricier than at hole-in-the-wall places, but I’d say the quality and taste definitely makes it worth it. 10 pieces of xiaolongbao with pork filling will cost you around 60 CNY, and I personally want all the 10 pieces for myself (preferably more!). To compare, the other day I had a basket of 6 pork xiaolongbao for 6 CNY at a local street restaurant.
Din Tai Fung has multiple locations in Shanghai. Branches can also be found in other major Asian cities, as well as in Australia, the US and the UAE. And they definitely serve their world-famous soup dumplings in all locations!