Where are Soup Dumplings From? – Soup dumplings, also known as xiaolongbao, are one of the most popular types of dumplings enjoyed around the world.
But how, and where, did they originate?
The Legend of the First Soup Dumpling
Tradition says that the soup dumpling came from a kind, elderly couple living in east China’s Nanxiang Town.
As a gesture of appreciation for the kindness of the locals, the couple wanted to offer a free meal to their townspeople.
No one in Nanxiang Town had ever tasted such a dish before.
To make the meal tantalizing for their guests, the couple stewed a soup full of wonderful flavors and ingredients and then wrapped it up with a thin dough to make a small, tasty dumpling.
The dumpling contained all of the same amazing flavors of the soup, but each bite also had a delicious piece of broth inside.
Thus, the soup dumpling was born and soon became a popular treat throughout Nanxiang.
The Popularity of Soup Dumplings
The original couple’s dumplings and their filling were much simpler than the soup dumplings we know today.
But as the popularity of soup dumplings started to spread, they began to be filled with different flavors and ingredients.
To this day, soup dumplings remain popular as a delicacy in China. Generally, they are filled with pork, ginger, and rich broth.
Depending on the region, additional ingredients can be used for a unique take on the original soup dumpling.
Soup dumplings have even made their way around the world and can be found in restaurants from China to the United States.
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Where Are Soup Dumplings From?
Soup dumplings come from the city of Nanxiang, located in Jiangsu Province in east China.
The dish originated more than 150 years ago and has since become a delicacy that is enjoyed worldwide.
Today, Nanxiang remains the home of the original soup dumpling, with restaurants throughout the city still offering the meal of the original couple.
In fact, Nanxiang is so closely associated with the soup dumplings that it has become known as the “Hometown of Soup Dumplings”.
Easy Soup Dumplings
Soup dumplings are small doughy parcels filled with soup and other flavorful ingredients.
To make soup dumplings, start by preparing a simple broth with ingredients like chicken broth, ginger, scallions, and salt.
Then, prepare the dough by combining all-purpose flour, baking powder, and water.
Divide the dough into small portions, roll each into a ball, and flatten them into thin circles.
Place a spoonful of the broth mix in the center of each circle and fold the sides up to form a dumpling.
Steam the dumplings in a basket or skillet over medium heat until they turn golden brown and the broth is fully cooked.
Xiao Long Bao Ingredients
The ingredients in xiao long bao are minced pork (or other meat or seafood), pieces of crab meat or roe, ground ginger, salt, sugar, wine, sesame oil, spring onion, and sometimes a soup stock.
The dough is usually made with ordinary wheat flour, or sometimes a combination of wheat flour and glutinous rice flour.
The key to success is steaming the dumplings correctly, so most good xiao long bao places hand-make the dumplings as well.
Professional xiao long bao makers will ensure that the skin is thin enough to steam and still maintain integrity, otherwise, the soup will leak out during steaming.
The soup is usually made with stock, such as pork bone or chicken. The secret to pork xiao long bao is in the combination of five-spice powder and white pepper.
The pork is seasoned and mixed with a bit of sugar and water, and then left in a warm place to let it slowly “sweat” out its moisture.
This moisture helps make the inside of the xiao long bao special.
Where are Soup Dumplings From? When the tradition of soup dumplings began more than 150 years ago, no one could have predicted the global popularity it would reach today.
From their humble beginnings in Nanxiang Town, soup dumplings have become a treasured delicacy around the world.