"...Xiao long bao can basically be considered an engineering challenge. At their soupy core, they are a physics compromise between tensile strength (the wrapper breaking) and pressure exerted by a mass / density (the filling). Some argue that thick dumpling skin is a 'style' all its own. A lot of Shanghainese diners I met along the way emphasized that the wrapper was just that -- a way to get a soupy meatball into your mouth. As such, its flavor should be minimized. In this theory, the primary offender is the 'head' of the dumpling, where the folds bunch up and create a topknot. These folds stack up, exponentially growing the topknot. They are the major obstacle. Ergo, in order to get the smallest 'head' you need a thin wrapper. I suppose you could just not eat the head, but… "