Wuxi Steamed Buns

wuxi steamed buns

Wuxi Steamed Buns (无锡小笼包), also known as Xiaolongbao or Xiaolong Mantou, are a traditional delicacy hailing from the city of Wuxi in Jiangsu Province, China. These exquisite buns are part of the Suzhou cuisine, and they boast a history of over a century. Wuxi Steamed Buns are meticulously crafted from high-quality wheat flour and feature a delicate selection of ingredients.

They are known for their unique characteristics, including their thin, yet resilient skin that doesn’t break when picked up, their ability to remain intact even when flipped over, and the flavorful, non-greasy broth inside. These buns are beloved for their distinctive texture, with a thin, unfermented outer layer and a generous, flavorful filling. During the autumn and winter seasons, some variations of these buns incorporate a rich and savory crab roe filling, known as “Crab Roe Xiaolong,” creating a delectable and mouthwatering treat.

Wuxi Steamed Buns are renowned for their preparation and the special way they are enjoyed. The buns are masterfully made, and their unique soup-filled interior sets them apart from other types of dumplings and buns. When you order a plate of these buns, they are served with a small dish of rose vinegar and finely shredded ginger as accompaniments. To fully appreciate the experience of savoring these delicacies, you’ll need to follow a specific eating ritual.

Here’s how you should enjoy Wuxi Steamed Buns:

  1. Start by taking a small dish and adding a bit of rose vinegar and a few shreds of tender ginger.
  2. Gently pick up a Xiaolongbao using your chopsticks and place it in a shallow dish.
  3. Delicately take a small bite from the thin, translucent skin of the bun. This first bite allows you to release some of the hot and flavorful soup within.
  4. Sip the hot broth slowly and savor the exquisite flavors that unfold in your mouth. The combination of the aromatic vinegar and the fresh ginger enhances the overall taste.
  5. Once you’ve savored most of the soup, you can proceed to enjoy the rest of the bun. Remember the rhyme: “轻轻提,慢慢移,先开窗,后喝汤” (lightly lift, gently move, open the window first, then drink the soup). This eating method ensures you avoid any soup splashes or burns, and it allows you to fully appreciate the delectable taste.

The unique charm of Wuxi Steamed Buns lies not only in their exquisite taste but also in the ritual and experience of savoring each bun. The delicate combination of flavors and textures makes this dish a culinary treasure and a must-try for anyone visiting Wuxi or exploring the world of Chinese cuisine.

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