I got inspired to do this post by Melvin.
him: You like dragon so much ah? Buy dragon necklace somemore
me: Yah. I’m born a dragon bah…
him: Then you reincarnate become Xiao Long Bao lah
Anyways, “Little Basket Bun”, literally Xiao Long Bao(小笼包) is also known as soup dumplings.
It originated from China and is a very common dish in most dim sum restaurants. They’re those little dumplings filled with meat or sometimes vegetable and contains a significant amount of soup in each of those little ones.
To make it is an art. Each of the dumplings must contain at least 18 folds. The skin also has to be thin but delicate enough to hold the right amount of soup and meat in it.
And to eat it, is also quite an art.
To eat it, you’ve gotta becareful when u take it using your chopsticks. Make sure you don’t break the fragile skin otherwise all the soup comes pouring out(defeats the purpose of eating it). Then, place it in your spoon and take a little bite and suck all the juice out. They usually serve it with vinegar and finely sliced ginger.
Note: Those dumplings are usually served hot. And i mean HOT. So becareful not to burn your tongue when you suck those flavorful broth out ;p
The Xiao Long Baos go for about an average of RM2 per dumpling, meaning around RM8 for one bamboo basket of 4 dumplings. It’s not exactly “cheap food” thus its sometimes deemed as a delicacy.
Having tried these little dumplings here and there, I must say, it’s hard to find really good ones.
Ascending preferences of a few La Mien Xiao Long Bao Restaurants,
One Noodle @ SS2, KL
The skin was too thick, hence the quite chewy texture. There was very little soup in each of those precious ones.
Dragon-I Restaurant @ Centerpoint, KL
Dragon-I has many many branches all round the world. In KL itself, they have one at Midvalley, 1-Utama and so on.
Xiao Long Baos are one of their specialities, so one fine day, my sister and I popped in for a late lunch.
It was so-so, and a bit overpriced. The soup was really salty and not fragrant enough. It’s like salt water plus a little lard. The skin however, wasn’t too bad.
The next time you pop by, i suggest that you try their La Mien. The place has really nice decos but be prepared for a slightly overpriced meal.
The next 3 restaurants I find was above average and worth trying if you happen to cross it.
Din Tian Fung @ Paragon, Singapore.
According to them, this restaurant has been ranked by The New York Times as one of the World’s Best Top 10 Restaurants. They also have outlets in Wisma Atria, Raffles City, Aerin and Kuriya all in Singapore.
Delicate skin, tender meat, and significant amount of soup.
Shangai-10 @ Jalan Telawi 2, Bangsar, KL.
Shangai-10 is a recently established place by the previous chef of Chef Loong @ SS2. The concept and food is very similar, but this is like an improved version of Chef Loong. It’s a great place to lepak at. They have really good desserts and to-die-for snacks and food. All for a very reasonable price too.
The plus side of the Xiao Long Baos at Shangai-10 is that they have a very ‘springy’ skin. It’s not fragile and that makes it easier to eat it without worrying that it’ll break.
And last but not least, one of my favorite restaurants…
Crystal Jade Restaurant @ Takashimaya, Singapore.
Crystal Jade Group of Restaurants have branches all over the world including Indonesia and Malaysia.
Note that i mentioned Group of Restaurants. This is because they have slightly differenciated restaurants including, Crystal Jade Ginseng Chicken BBQ, Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao and Crystal Jade Palace.
It’s a great restaurant which offers great Chinese food at affordable prices amid typical Chinese decos.
Leaves you wanting for more.
After all this, i’m desperate for
one some now. I don’t think there’s any in Kuching, is there?