Last year CHOW.com invited me to do a video on what goes into making perfect Shanghai soup dumplings (xiao long bao). As you can imagine, I had much to say about the subject, especially after spending 3 weeks making them every day to get the recipe instructions right. It was hard to pick a spot that consistently produced excellent dumplings, and I deliberated for weeks. But CHOW.com producer Meredith Arthur was super patient, even though she was expecting a baby. Then I settled on Shanghai Dumpling King (3319 Balboa Street, between 34th Ave & 35th Ave) located in the Outer Richmond in San Francisco; I’ve mentioned this restaurant before as being the inspiration for the Chinese sugar egg puffs recipe (bai tang sha weng) .
CHOW videographer Eric Slatkin just finished editing the video and released it over the weekend. "The Perfect" is a series of CHOW.com videos that asks experts to share their insights on culinary excellence. Here is what I had to say about Shanghai soup dumplings:
Video presented here courtesy of CHOW.com
For the video above, Meredith, Eric, and I convened at ‘the King’ last September. We had a great afternoon of filming and were very well fed too. The cooks and staff at Shanghai Dumpling King were friendly, gracious, and proud of their xiao long bao. They spoke limited English and I got to practice my Mandarin, which you’ll hear in the video. But we all love food, and their xiao long bao brilliantly communicate the skill, ingenuity, and care that goes into making excellent Asian dumplings.
What do you think makes for a perfect soup dumpling?
If you've got a favorite place to get good xiao long bao, do share your tip in this 1/24/10 post.