Soup dumplings, also known by their Chinese name of xiao long bao (or XLB for short), were first popularized in New York City over 20 years ago by Joe’s Shanghai. But these soup-filled purses with a tiny pork meatball inside, and sometimes a wad of crabmeat on top, have a far longer history. They originated in the Shanghai suburb of Nanxiang around 1875, and quickly took their place among Shanghai’s other dumpling styles. The secret: a gelatin-laced filling that turns liquid during steaming.
In fact, the best ones usually arrive in a bamboo steamer, and eating them requires some practice: Gingerly lift the dumpling onto your spoon by its topknot with the tongs provided or with chopsticks, nip off the knot with your teeth, suck out the broth, pour in the black vinegar-and-ginger sauce if you like, then eat the remainder. Just let them cool first — trust.Read More