So what exactly are xiăolóngbāo? Xiăolóngbāo are classic Shanghainese soup dumplings that set my heart aflutter. They consist of a thin dumpling wrapper, filled with pork and a savory broth. Yes, that's right, I said pork. Longtime readers will remember that I hadn't eaten pork in 20 years thanks to an incident with Charlotte's Web as a child. But um, I sort of started again just so I could eat these dumplings. Yes, they are that good.
How to eat Xiăolóngbāo
Step 1: Pour some vinegar into the small dish provided to you. Trust me, this stuff makes the dish.
Step 2: Use your chopsticks to carefully grasp the top of the dumpling and dip it into the vinegar.
Step 3: Place the dumpling on your soup spoon.
Step 4: This is the important step. Seriously. Unless you want molten lava to burn your mouth and ruin your entire meal, you better pay attention here. Gently bite a small hole in the top of the dumpling to allow steam to come out.
Step 5: Allow the dumpling to cool for a moment and then slurp the soup out of the hole. Yes, slurping is not only okay but encouraged when eating these babies.
Step 6: Once the dumpling is a more reasonable temperature, use your chopsticks or spoon to slide that dumpling right into your mouth. You can add a little more vinegar before doing so if you choose (I always do).
Step 7: Return to Step 1. I think you get the idea.