We’ll say it – xiao long bao might be the most magical of all dumplings, especially when loaded with shredded ginger and doused in black vinegar.
You’ll have to travel long and far before bumping into someone who doesn’t love dim sum. If you do somehow find someone who’s anti-dumpling, call crazy-town, they’re missing a citizen. We love our fair share of dim sum (and have the ultimate guide to prove it), but we’ve got extra special love for xiao long bao. Yes, those off-white dumplings with mind-blowing soup and thin slightly transparent skin that’s wrapped better than any gift you and I ever got. Find the greats here…
But first: for everyone who’s debated over dumplings just how they get the damn soup in there? Prepare to have your mind blown: Nope, it’s not injected with a syringe. Ain’t nobody got time for that! The soup stock is turned into a Jell-O using gelatin. Once the dumpling skin is rolled out, the jelly-like soup and the meaty filling is plopped on and placed into the steamer basket. And that’s how a xiao long bao is born.
Oh, the swooshing soup. Sure, Peach Garden is one of the fancier Chinese restaurants in town, but their delightful soupy dumplings are out of this world. Got a mid-week craving? Douse it with XLBs at their daily dim sum brunch promotion. Trust us, it’s entirely worth it. Bring a friend – someone will need to roll you back to work.
Peach Garden, Hotel Miramar, Clarke Quay, 401 Havelock Rd, Singapore 169631
Din Tai Fung
It’d be some kind of sacrilege to talk about xiao long bao without raving about Din Tai Fung. Everyone’s favourite Michelin starred Taiwanese restaurant is all over the world, serving up perfect rolled out, wrapped and pinched XLBs. They’ve got the art and science down pat and they’ll forever be xiao long bao central in our hungry eyes.
#Tip: Keep an eye on their Instagram. They like to stir the pot once in a while when it comes to flavours.
Din Tai Fung, various locations.
Wanna take your obsession over XLBs to a whole new level? Wear your stretchy pants to Paradise Dynasty… we take friends and family visiting from overseas here, so we’d know. The traditional off-white soupy dumplings get a funky splash of colour and it’s spiked with wackier flavours – brace yourself for foie gras, black truffle, cheese, crab roe and what not. Pick your jaw off the floor and give them a go, even if you’re a traditionalist (there’s original flavour too if you wanna stick to your guns).
Paradise Dynasty, various locations.
More than one Honeycomber swears by this place. Why? Many reasons but it’s mainly because they are extra sooooupy when you bite down! The mini explosion of warm, delectable soup and the lovely flavours warrants an A-plus. #Protip: Need a healthy side to go with that? Order the garlic broccoli.
Crystal Jade, various locations.
Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao
So, your mild to severe obsession with xiao long bao has you in a soup. Nope, you don’t have to only frequent the Din Tai Fungs of the world to cheat on your diet with XLBs. The Chinatown Complex hawker centre on Smith St is home to Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao (diagonally opposite Hawker Chan’s stalls). We aren’t’ surprised this family-run business was listed in Singapore’s Michelin Guide 2017. Brewed for a nice 12 hours, the stock is bursting with flavour and we can’t get enough. Just because you’re broke AF end of the month doesn’t mean you can’t comfort yourself with sinfully delicious xiao long bao by the basket.
Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao, Chinatown Complex Market and Food Centre, #02-135, 335 Smith St, Singapore 050335
Swee Choon Dim Sum Restaurant
You can count on Swee Choon, one of the oldest dim sum restaurants on the island, to get xiao long bao right. Firm but not too stiff, these beauties have a broth that’ll make you ‘ummm’. That with a fair amount of filling makes this our favourite super late-night spot for post-party munchies. It’s open till 2.30 am every day and till 3 am on Sunday and public holidays.
Swee Choon Dim Sum Restaurant, 183-191 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208882