Dumpling delights - just avoid burns

18:32, Jul 10 2012
A Shanghai stallholder prepares some dumplings.
A Shanghai stallholder prepares some dumplings.

Xiao Long Bao dumplings are a Shanghai food miracle. Five grams of pastry, 16 grams of stuffing, 18 pleats at the top and a surprise inside.
Typically served with some dipping sauce and shredded ginger, the dumplings contain the normal fillings - pork, prawns, chicken, vegetables - but it is the extra hot soupy liquid also contained within the delightful wee parcels that provides the thrill.
Carol, our host, had to demonstrate how to eat them so we didn't go about scalding ourselves.
So, pick up the dumpling - she went very high, the neck of the parcel - carefully without piercing the skin.
Then bite a little hole in the top, you may want to use a spoon for extra balance, and suck out the soup.
Don't, by any means, start munching the dumpling before sucking out the soup: A. you'll miss the most fun and tasty bit and B. you'll probably need treatment for chin burns.
* For some really good Xiao Long Bao head to the rebuilt area Xintiandi - old Shanghai it is not - and the Din Tai Fung restaurant in the second storey of a modern mall. You'll probably need a booking, though.