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Soup Dumplings

confusion about soup dumplings? XLB?


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General Discussion 16

confusion about soup dumplings? XLB?

HLing | Aug 10, 2007 12:06 AM

The Boston board is having a mini discussion on soup dumplings as we know it in the United States. I just wanted to share a little something I came across in 2004 in China. Maybe this will further confuse the issue, but maybe it's good just to know that there's a "he says, she says" in China about these dumplings/baos, and that us in the States may have to keep our minds open about which food came from whence.

1) a picture I took in Shanghai's famed Nanxiang restaurant. (I'm refraining from saying the actual restaurant name....oh well, it's Nanxiang Mantou, but this is another topic. These are Xiao Long Bao, but they don't really have the amount of soup, nor the "look" of what we in the US think Xiao Long Baos ought to be. We like to presume, but they were there first.

2) A picture I took in the old city of Kai Feng (site of capitols of olden Chinese Dynasties. Very prosperous very long ago.) in Henan province of China. These are what we see in the States as "soup dumplings". But here, in this city they call them "Guan Tang Bao" ("soup-filled bao). They claim that it all started HERE, not Shanghai. Kai Feng as a city is certainly much older than Shanghai, so they may have a point there. Though, in the modern day, more people know of Shanghai than Kai don't feel bad that you've never heard of this place. Maybe though, we should start calling the soup dumplings by the original name: Guan4 Tang1 Bao1.

3) Just an example (very delicious example) of what transplants bring to Shanghai: This woman is fresh from Harbin, way north east of China. She'd just opened up shop in Shanghai's Hongqiao area, just a few days before my first visit of Shanghai in 2004. How lucky was I? Other Shanghainese were trying out this particular way of cooking mantou, for 50 cents RMB each. Boy, those crust!

So what would happen if one of the US restauranteur goes to Shanghai, open up a restaurant and serve the "soup dumplings" as we know it here? I wonder...

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