Shanghai: Dumpling, Dumpling, Dumpling!

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“Hey you, what is your favorite food?”

“Mmmhhh, I’m not sure, I’m undecided between ravioli and lasagna.”

Of course, because when you think of a favorite food, carbohydrate makes it as a master, never to be undecided between a quinoa salad and steam cauliflower. It never comes to mind then summer’s approaching and we have to wear a swimsuit, weight loss to relieve pressure on the knees, the insulin that rises. Eh no, if you think of a favorite food the carbohydrate wins. Always.

“Hey you. Yes I am speaking with you, the one undecided between ravioli and lasagna, please find a black hole, a passageway, a teleport and come here in a blink, please.”

I would gladly bring you to the discovery of the Chinese dumpling and all its variants, baozi, jiaozi, hundun (wontons) and my favorite ones, xiaolongbao.

But let’s begin with things in order my dear Dumpling lover.

BAOZI

The BAOZI are like soft rolls made only with crumbs and stuffed with stewed meat or a mixture of green cabbage, tofu and mushrooms. They are usually eaten for breakfast along with boiled eggs and a nice smoky broth noodles plate, just to start the day in a lighter way. I know that these do not inspire you, in fact we jump over them, don’t worry my love.

 

HUNDUN (WONTON)

From my point of view even these are losable. But to those who like the fried crunchy or soups I would recommend them. And remember when you’re about to choose which to order, my grandmother always said: “also a slipper is good if you fry it.”

JIAOZI

Here my dear, these you will like a lot, they are half-moon shaped dumplings stuffed with meat, pork, mushrooms, shrimp or crab. They fry them of course, then you can eat them just like this or dive them in soy sauce or in spicy sauce, to you the choice.

XIAOLONGBAO

Here are my favorites. Xiaolongbao are cooked only steamed in bamboo baskets, they are slightly smaller than jiaozi, have a very fine, almost transparent dough and in addition to the usual stuffing (meat, pork, mushrooms, crab, shrimp or shark) are filled with broth.

The xiaolongbao are prepared in the opposite way so that the dumpling is twisted and pinched tight on top, trapping or to avoid the broth from getting out during cooking.

Nice chefs who are producing XIAOLONGBAO at Din Tai Fung

To eat them I will teach you the technique of a Xiaolongbao’s expert eater, which has nothing to do with the technique of the Italian Ravioli’s expert eater. First, you have to gently wrap them with your chopsticks, without straining too much, so the dough, which is dumpish and sticky, will stick to the chopsticks like a miracle. Now, dip it slightly in the soy sauce then with your left hand put a large spoon of Chinese pottery under the xiaolongbao. Now you can bite slightly the dumpling and leave the broth come out in the spoon. Careful because it’s burning and I don’t want to spend the afternoon at the hospital, do not tempt your throat and leave the broth to cool down, trust me…

XIAOLONGBAO’S EXPERT EATER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blow in the little hole, count up to ten if you can resist the temptation, now you are ready! You can eat it. I see your eyes turn into orbits for pleasure. I know I know, we’ll order a tons of these.

Now that your beautiful belly is full and you are no longer undecided between ravioli and lasagna, we are going to digest all those carbohydrates. The city lends itself to a thousand interesting activities that you cannot even imagine in Italy.

Chop chop let’s go my love.

 

 

 

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