In Shanghai there are street stalls selling delicious xiaolongbao, or steamed pork dumplings, on almost every corner. Here's a guide on where to find the best – and how to master the tricky art of slurping them down

在上海的每个街角几乎都有路边摊出售着美味的小笼包和蒸饺。这是一篇指南,帮助你找到最好的–--如何掌握把它们大口吞下去的这门棘手艺术。

Shanghainese soup dumplings

Pick up steam … Shanghainese soup dumplings. Photographs: UnTour Shanghai

渐渐加热.... 上海小笼包。图片选自:UnTour Shanghai


We all have our favourite joints and the truth about which one reigns supreme varies, depending on whether you prioritise the thickness of the skin or the quality of the soup inside. With XLBs (as those in the know call them), the dumpling isn't bobbing in a bowl of hot soup; rather, the soup is contained neatly inside the delicate dumpling skin. This is attained through a nifty trick of including cooled pork jelly (OK, fat) in with the minced pork, which is then wrapped in a thin flour dumpling skin. Good XLB joints have enough turnover that dumplings are steamed fresh throughout the day.

我们都有自己最喜欢的小摊,而他们的包子却有着无穷的变化,这完全取决于你对皮的薄厚的喜爱与包子里汤汁的多少为量纲。关于小笼包(我们所知的中国人的叫法),他并不是在一碗热汤中翻滚,相反地,汤水被灵巧的保持在了包子皮内。他是通过一种灵巧的的艺术将生猪肉内的汁水(好吧,是脂肪)存放于肉末中,然后再用面粉做的包子皮将其包上。好的小笼包摊会因为有良好地销量使得你什么时候去买都能买到刚出炉的。

That said, if anyone tells you the best soup dumplings in the city can be found at Taiwanese chain restaurant Din Tai Fung, give them a polite smile and then turn on your heels and run. Sure, these XLBs may win the day in Melbourne or even San Francisco, but why come to Shanghai, the home of the xiaolongbao, to order your steamer baskets from a chain? No one suggests going to Rome and eating at Pizza Hut, however well the corporation may have localised their flavors to the Italian market.

如果有人告诉你上海最好吃的小笼包在台湾连锁饭店鼎泰丰,给他一个礼貌的微笑,脱下你的高跟鞋跑路吧。当然,他家的小笼包可能赢得了墨尔本甚至是旧金山的大奖,但为什么要来上海这个小笼包的故乡,要一个从流水线上下来的蒸笼吗?在罗马没人会建议去吃必胜客,尽管必胜客家的公司可能会本地话他家的产品来适应意大利的市场。

We also avoid the historic Nanxiang tourist trap in Yu Gardens at all costs. This perennial guidebook favourite is a branch of the original dumpling shop that invented the method for preparing XLBs, but they churn out so many dumplings in a day that the product is wildly inconsistent. In addition, their widely publicised historical connection has led to interminably long lines of hungry tourists who are all searching for a suitable seat to slurp down the dumplings.

我们也无论如何避开有著名历史的南翔豫园的旅游陷阱。这本多年的旅游指南指出,这是当年发明小笼包的的包子店的一家分店,但是由于他一天要生产这么多的小笼包,以至于包子的形状疯狂的不一致。此外,由于他们过分的地宣传他们的历史渊源以至于难以计数的饥饿游客都在寻找一个舒适的地方来吃他们的小笼包。

In our humble opinion, there is no single winner of the great xiaolongbao debate – and that's no because we like sitting on the fence. There are two regional varieties of soup dumpling: Nanjing-style, which are actually called tangbao, literally "soup bun," and traditional Shanghainese xiaolongbao. The latter boasts heartier wrappers that hold in a hearty pork meatball in a sweet soup, while Nanjing's offerings have skin so thin it's almost translucent, a more savoury broth, and a smaller serving of pork. In each of these categories, we have a clear winner.

以我们的愚见,在伟大的小笼包辩论会上没有一个赢家 – 这并不是因为我们毫无立场。有两个地方品种的汤包子:南京风格的,它实际上是被称为汤包,字面意思是“汤包子”,和传统的上海小笼包。后者在皮内包有丰盛的猪肉丸子甜汤,然而南京的样式包子皮肤非常得薄,几乎是透明的,更美味的肉汤和小份的猪肉。在这两个类别中,我们有了一个明确的赢家。

Fu Chun dumpling joint
Fu Chun dumpling joint

富春小笼包连锁




Gently take a bite out of the top (or the side) and let the steam escape. Then carefully suck out the succulent juice of the xiaolongbao. A second dip into the sauce, after you've drained the melted pork fat, wouldn't hurt. Cue the swan song and pop the xiaolongbao in your mouth whole. Savour. Repeat.

轻轻地把包子顶端(或者旁边)咬开一个口子让蒸汽消散,然后小心地吸出包子里流出的丰富汤汁,融化了的猪皮汤汁大概排的差不多后,给包子蘸第二次酱

This is merely a loving ode to the standard Shanghai pork xiaolongbao. We could go into the high-class XLB filled with pork and crab roe, but we'll save that one for another day.

我要歌颂这些标准的上海猪肉小笼包。我们可以进入一流的餐厅吃那些充满了猪肉和蟹黄的小笼包,但我们要节省,把钱留到明天用。