Xiaolongbao, or sometimes known as steamed soup dumpling, is popular in Shanghai, China. It is often found in bamboo baskets that is delivered to your table at a dim sum restaurant or in Chinese restaurants. The unique basket is not only used for serving but also used as part of the cooking method, and xiaolongbao get steamed in there and is delivered right to your table. The volcano-like looking “dumpling” contains hot soup, and you can get the juice from biting the crown off of it, sustaining the dumpling shape, and drinking the soup first, then eating the rest of it.
When I studied abroad in Shanghai, I had the opportunity to take a cooking class, and one of the dishes we made was this. The skin or the dough of this is made with partially raised flour and has no oil in it. Pork is the most common filling, but there is variety, including crab meat and other seafood. The soup contains lots and lots of pork fat, which sounds fattening but also gives xiaolongbao the taste it should have. To get rid of that pork fat-ness it is often accompanied by soy sauce and vinegar mix that is served with thinly julienned ginger. Many Chinese people eat this as their “small snacks” during the day to satisfy their savory snack craving. If anyone has good recipes, I’d love to try it out!