The first time I had 小笼包 (Xiao Long Bao XLB) was at China, in a 2-storey eatery which sold nothing but XLBs. That was a life-changing experience.

XLB No. 1 was popped unsuspectingly into the mouth, making me cry aloud for a glass of iced water, yet enjoying the hot juice which exploded and then trickled slowly down the throat.

XLB No. 2 broke immediately after my bad chopstick pierced across the translucent delicate skin, sending spills all over the bamboo basket.

XLB No. 3 was carefully placed on a spoon, and I learned about the magic of sucking the soup right from the top of the dumpling. I went on to finish all 10. During which, each of the other 7 were carefully examined at how the delicious stock ‘entered’ into the dumpling.

5 Things You May Not Know About Xiao Long Bao

1. The broth inside is created by placing some meat gelatin inside before steaming. So it’s not injected in like what many think.

2. The original Shanghai Xiao Long Bao was sold in Nanxiang, which is why Nanxiang’s XLB is considered most authentic.

3. There are exactly 18 folds in each Din Tai Fung’s XLB. Go count them the next time!

4. Each XLB normally weights about 21 gram and is steamed for 4 and a half minutes.

5. The owners of Din Tai Fung originally sold oil at the store, and the steamed dumplings were just a side business.

The next time you eat your XLB, dip them into one part soy sauce to three parts vinegar along with the ginger slivers to truly enjoy this experience.

Other Related Entries
The Eastern Restaurant (Centrepoint)
Ju Hao Xiao Long Bao (Lavender)
Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao
Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant (Plaza Singapura)
Paradise Dynasty (Ion Orchard)


  1. Wahaha! Something new I’ve learnt abt XLB! 18 FOLDS!! goodness! Hey.. but did u noe, i was in Taiwan last year, and my bestie’s family (authentic Taiwanese) who brought me to a XLB shop near the Chiang Kai Shek memorial.. and that shop was where the Din Tai Fung Chef orignated from!


  2. Oh really? I only tried the Ding Tai Fengs at Yong Kang St (the original Taiwan flagship store) and the ones at Zhong Xiao.

    Must find out where this store is!

  3. Try those cheating xlb’s at Dim Sake. At $8 a shot, it’s just a cheat! haha. But yea. I had my first XLB at Shanghai in one of the theatre restaurants many years ago. It was an eclectic experience. I think I asked my teacher what it was… Thinking it was wanton. And for me, my first bite of it was in half. Damn!!! Imagine all that delicious stock oozing out.. and off my spoon….

    On your pt. 1 though, I hear some chefs cook the meat before hand with the soup and freeze it a little before they start making the dumplings and putting it in the little rice skins. this hawker stall near my house does a mean xlb. good effort for a hawker stall and pretty solid skin =) and I did glimpse that they froze the meat a little.

  4. After I tried those in China, somehow NONE of the XLB here is even close…. except perhaps at Yanqing Kitchen.

    xladyzstarx™: if you freeze the meat, won’t you lose all the freshness away? Surely the ‘bite’ will be a lot more inferior?


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