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A Taste of Shanghai

(Photo by ISO staff)

It is said that steamed soup dumplings (xiaolongbao) originated over a hundred years ago in Nanxiang, Shanghai, which is why some restaurants still like to use the name 'Nanxiang xiaolongbao' to refer to the said dumplings. This sends a message to diners that the dumplings are made in the traditional way. Whether they are indeed authentic is debatable and there aren't many people who can judge, but one thing is certain—it is difficult to find good Shanghainese dumplings in Hong Kong, let alone authentic ones.

Luckily for members of our campus, the Harmony at Lee Woo Sing College does a delicious and reasonably authentic version of xiaolongbao. Mr. Li, manager of the Harmony, said these 'steamed fresh pork dumplings', as they're described on the menu, is a must-order because the chef who makes them has been working for a traditional Shanghai restaurant for decades. All dumplings are filled, sealed, and cooked to order to guarantee freshness. The dumpling wrapper is smooth, thin, and translucent, and the creases are well pinched. The filling is made with premium pork and pork jelly, which render the broth savory and delectable.

One may be tempted to finish off a steamy xiaolongbao in one bite, but this is not advised as the hot broth inside the parcel must turn your joy to sorrow. A better solution is to first bite off the top knot of the dumpling, allowing it to release the steam, slurp up the soup when it is cooler, and finally, dip the rest of the dumpling in the ginger-vinegar sauce and gobble it up.


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