Jia Jia Tang Bao Jia Jia Tang Bao Jia Jia Tang Bao Jia Jia Tang Bao Lin Long Fang Lin Long Fang xiaolongbao Xiaoyang Shenjianbao

Xiaolongbao Redux: Best Places for Soup Dumplings in Shanghai

What hasn’t been written about xiaolongbao, the humble Shanghainese soup dumpling? It is a marvel of engineering; skin thin enough to be translucent, pleated around seasoned pork and bursting at the seams with umami-rich soup.  Further enhanced with a dip in black vinegar and topped with thin slivers of ginger, it is consumed by daintily lifting by the top where the skin is thickest and raising to your lips in a soup spoon, lest any spillage occurs during consumption.  Living in Shanghai, the birthplace of xiaolongbao, I’m spoiled to be able to indulge in a basket whenever the craving strikes. And it happens more often than I’d like to admit.

Locals believe that a good xiaolongbao is in the ratio of skin, soup and meat. The thinner the skin and more plentiful the soup and meat, the better. But the perfect xiaolongbao is often elusive, a product of the nimble hands of young chefs who roll and pleat behind kitchen glass, affected …

Jing | 28.05.15 at 10:11 PM |

Chinese New Year Feast

When I was young, family gatherings were a rare thing. Every couple of years, my parents and I would travels the thousands of miles back to Chengdu and visit my dear grandparents and extended family of uncles, aunts and cousins. Each time we met, there were changes to take in; babies I had never met , kids and teenagers I’d never watched grow, divorces, remarriages, grey hairs and facial lines. It was a revolving cast, but the stage remained the same, set around the kitchen table in my grandparents house. If you’ve seen the BBC Exploring China documentary that was filmed in their home, you’d have an idea of what one of these gatherings are like.

Having grown up far removed from the rest of my family and feeling culturally alienated as a kid, I thought the endless dishes and baijiu toasts were remarkably tedious and couldn’t wait to slink away after scarfing down my food.  Eventually with age came sense and curiosity, and I became…

Jing | 19.02.15 at 11:35 AM |
Ceramic ware made by Yu Zhi Lan in Jingdezhen 'Golden thread noodles' - hand cut noodles made with duck egg yolk, with highly prized Tibetan caterpillar fungus Yu Zhi Lan's handmade custom pottery from Jingdezhen 8 appetizers Five colour noodles with strange-flavoured sauce, and lamb stomach mushroom Corn fritter Deep sea cucumber in hot and sour broth

Chengdu – Yu Zhi Lan


Fuchsia Dunlop deserves a lot of credit for being the only serious writer in the West who has consistently championed Chinese chefs over the years, and with beautifully evocative prose. Her coverage of Yubo and Dai Jianjun among others have ostensibly been responsible for launching these chef’s into the global limelight, and helped spawn a new wave of interest in China’s rich culinary heritage. Her latest story in FT about rising Chengdu chef Lan Guijun is no exception. I’m consistently impressed by her pulse on the Chengdu scene and intimacy with its key players despite being based in London.  Lan Guijun is a chef who has long been well-known amongst culinary aficionados in Chengdu, but only in the last few years morphed into his current incarnation; ambassador of refined Chinese gastronomy.  After disappearing off the scene in a long sabbatical during which time he studied traditional cuisine and the…

Jing | 28.09.14 at 06:33 PM |


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