Xiaolongbao, Shanghai – What it is, How to enjoy, and Famous restaurants

xiaolongbao in shanghai

Xiaolongbao, also known as soup dumplings, is a beloved dish that has its roots in the Jiangnan region of China, including the city of Shanghai. Shanghai-style xiaolongbao is a popular variation of this classic dumpling that has gained worldwide fame.

What it is

Shanghai-style xiaolongbao is typically smaller in size than other versions, and the dough is thin and delicate, making it a challenge to eat without breaking the skin. The filling usually consists of pork, which is mixed with seasonings and sometimes other ingredients such as crab meat or shrimp. What sets Shanghai-style xiaolongbao apart from other types is the addition of a flavorful soup that is added to the filling, giving the dumplings their signature soup-filled center.

How to enjoy

To eat xiaolongbao in Shanghai, you need to be careful not to break the delicate skin as you lift the dumpling with your chopsticks. You then dip the dumpling in a mixture of soy sauce and black vinegar before placing it in a spoon. Once in the spoon, you can bite off the top of the dumpling, allowing the hot soup to flow out, or you can gently sip the soup from the spoon before eating the rest of the dumpling.

Famous restaurants

Shanghai is famous for its xiaolongbao, and many restaurants in the city specialize in this delicious dish. The most famous of these is the restaurant chain Din Tai Fung, which started in Taiwan and has since expanded to locations around the world. Other popular restaurants in Shanghai that serve xiaolongbao include Nanxiang Mantou Dian, Jia Jia Tang Bao, and Xiao Yang Sheng Jian.


In conclusion, xiaolongbao in Shanghai is a beloved local specialty that has gained worldwide fame. Its signature thin, delicate skin and flavorful soup filling make it a unique and delicious culinary experience that is not to be missed. If you find yourself in Shanghai, be sure to try this iconic dish at one of the city’s many famous xiaolongbao restaurants.

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