Xiaolongbao is a type of steamed bun (baozi) from the Jiangnan region of China, especially associated with Shanghai and Wuxi. Xiaolongbao are often referred to as a kind of "dumpling", but should not be confused with British or American-style dumplings nor with Chinese jiaozi. Similarly, they are considered a kind of "soup dumpling" but should not be confused with other larger varieties of tang bao.
Originated in the town of Nanxiang, the suburb area of Shanghai, Xiaolongbao is traditionally steamed in bamboo baskets with typically Shanghai style. It has another English name called Soup Dumpling. To make the food taste more delicious, the buns are usually dipped in Chinkiang vinegar with ginger slivers. Different from other stuffed buns, the fillings of Xiao Long Bao are traditionally with broth and meat. The essence of Xiaolongbao is the broth filled inside, which is regarded as a kind of typical filling. When tasting Xiaolongbao, the broth inside will immediately flows out as the first bite.
Traditionally, Xiaolongbao is a kind of dim sum (à la carte item) or xiaochi ("snack"). The buns are served hot in the bamboo baskets in which they were steamed, usually on a bed of dried leaves or paper mat, although some restaurants now use napa cabbage instead. The buns are usually dipped in Zhenjiang vinegar with ginger slivers. They are traditionally served with a clear soup on the side. Around Shanghai, "xiaolongbao" may be eaten throughout the day, although usually not for breakfast. They form part of a traditional Jiangnan-style morning tea.
When eating Xiaolongbao, it is an art need some techniques rather than just putting the food in your mouth, chew and swallow. Firstly, pour the vinegar to the shredded ginger. Then use your chopsticks to pick up a Xiaolongbao. At this time, be careful to avoid breaking the skin for the broth blowing out. Thirdly, dip Xiaolongbao in the ginger vinegar sauce and put it on the spoon. It is time to have a bite now. Nibble the side of Xiaolongbao and flavorful broth inside the dumpling. It is the best way of savoring the meaty, juice and flavorful broth inside the dumpling.
In Shanghainese, they are also sometimes known as sioh-lon meu-doe or xiaolong-style mantous. In Guangdong and the West, it is sometimes served as a dish during Cantonese tea time. Frozen xiaolongbao are now mass-produced and a popular frozen food sold worldwide.