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Dim Sum: Siu Luhng Bau

When I first came to Hong Kong, I was taken out for Dim Sum at lunchtime.  I was quite surprised to find that it was so different to the Chinese food that I had eaten in the UK, and amazed by the variety of dishes.  That was only the first day, and I was even more amazed to find that on the second day there were even more different Dim Sum to choose from.  And more on the third day.

Of course the excitement has worn off, and going for Dim Sum has become regular Sunday ritual and an occasional weekday treat.  If I remember to continue this series I will highlight some of my favourites and a few to avoid .    

Siu_lam_bauWe'll start with Siu Luhng Bau 上海小籠包 because it's probably my favourite Dim Sum. It originates from Shanghai, and it consists of a thin skin filled with pork and soup.  You may be wondering how they get the hot soup in, and I believe the answer is that they freeze the soup and wrap the skin around it (which seems like cheating to me). 

Tricky chaps to eat as well - you have be careful picking them up in case the skin breaks and the hot soup escapes.  This can happen if the Siu Luhng Bau sticks to the basket or one its fellow Siu Luhng Bau, or by careless use of chopsticks (that would be other people, obviously, and not me).  Plus, the hot soup can burn your mouth if you're not careful. 

So this means that we are looking for a chef who makes the skins thick enough, and can arrange the Siu Luhng Bau in the basket with care.  The ones in the picture look to be OK, and you may notice that they have take the additional precaution of placing each Siu Luhng Bau on a small piece of carrot.  Another approach is to place each Siu Luhng Bau in its own individual metal tray, to be tipped into the mouth oyster-style (though frankly this seems like more cheating).

If you can find Siu Luhng Bau you should order them.  A big basket of a dozen or so goes down well in a Shanghai restaurant, or (failing that) the smaller basket of three in a Cantonese-style Dim Sum restaurant is good enough.

Comments

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BWG

You meant "Siu Luhng Baau", right?

fumier

I'm told the way to eat them is to bite the top off, suck the soup out and then eat the rest.

Chris

BWG - Thanks for pointing that out. I've changed the "Lam" to "Luhng".

Romanization drives me nuts!!

BWG

Yeah, there are different systems about.

I find the Yale system generally to be the most accurate, though remembering to throw the "h" in "luhng" or the extra "a" in "baau" can be a bit of a pain.

Jonathan Stanley

My personal favourites are everything... wait, that's cheating. Though I guess if I was only allowed to have just one thing, it'd be either 糯米雞 (lo mai gai - lotus leaf rice) or 蘿蔔糕 (lo bak go - fried mooli cake). 叉燒包 (char sui bau - steamed barbeque-pork buns) where something I eat by the half-dozen as a kid though. :D

The Shanghainese steamed bun should really be Romanized using Cantonese Pinyin as thus: 上海小籠包 (seong hoi siu lung bau).

Foster

I asked someone about HOW they get the soup in. It is not frozen but a jelly that liquifies when heated.

My personal faves are char sui bau and the lo mai gai as well as sui mei and har gow (sp?). I love dim sum in Hong Kong.

Traytable

I'll put it my list of things to do/see/eat if I ever get to HK...

dgnyhk

All soup is jelly when chilled, it's the gelatin. Or protein. OR whatever. Broth - good broth - is jelly when chilled and liquifies when heated. Otherwise it's not broth, it's water.

The first time I had dim sum in HK, I was at City Hall with the Grommit, who was 3 and a bit of a finicky eater. I tried to get him to eat the various dumplings but it was a no-go. Then he saw a plate of fried squid pass by and squealed "Aliens! Can I eat the Aliens? PLEASE??? YUMMMMMMMY!" I think he had ten plates and was a very happy fellow indeed.

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