HK Alphabet :: D

D :: Dumplings

Mmmm... dumplings in steamer baskets, dumplings on pretty plates, dumplings in a bowl of noodles and broth, dumplings in my wok, even dumplings in styrofoam containers from the take-out shop. I love them all. Our go-to favorite are the pan-fried variety, usually with a filling of pork and cabbage. Any dumpling place worth its salt has a guy in the corner making dumplings, and these can be bought frozen to cook at home. It's our Hong Kong version of the grilled-cheese-and-tomato-soup-night. But the swoon-worthy, intellectually-satisfying variety are Shanghai-style xiao lang bao, commonly known as "soup dumplings." The idea of a dumpling filed with soup--how preposterous! Absurd, even. A trembling, delicate skin holds a bite of minced pork and a mouthful of hot fragrant broth. Served with vinegar and shredded ginger, it is no easy feat to transfer the dumpling from the steamer basket to the mouth without losing the precious, steaming juice and without burning your mouth. But, oh--the bliss.

(How do they do it? It's all due to the miraculous ability of good stock to gel. The dumplings are filled with meat filling and a cube of chilled stock, which becomes soup when the dumpling is steamed. Simple. Brilliant. )

(The top three pictures were all taken by my brother Chip. See more of his pics here. And sorry, no pictures of the soup dumplings. I always eat them way too fast to even think about a picture.)

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