How to Eat Soup Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao) & The Best Soup Dumplings in NYC

When people think of NYC and soup dumplings, the first place that comes to mind is Joe's Shanghai in Chinatown. Skip the tourist trap and head over to East Village to indulge in the best soup dumplings in NYC at The Bao.   

The menu

The menu

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The xiao long bao at The Bao in East Village is perfect. We ordered the original XLB and the crab XLB. The soup dumplings were juicy, and the dumpling skin had the right amount of thickness. Check out the video below to watch our review and learn how to eat XLB!

What is xiao long bao?

"Xiao long bao" literally translates to small basket buns, named for the bamboo baskets they're traditionally steamed in. XLB, also known as soup dumplings, are steamed dumplings with a pork and soup filling. 

Original soup dumplings

Original soup dumplings

Crab soup dumplings

Crab soup dumplings

What makes an amazing soup dumpling?

  • The pork - Juicy and tender goodness
  • Gelatinized Soup - During the steaming process, the soup broth liquefies. There should be enough soup that you have to take a sip right after biting the dumpling to prevent making a mess. 
  • Dumpling skin - Thin and delicate, but thick enough, so the dumpling doesn't break when you pick it up

How to eat soup dumplings

  1. Take a pair of chopsticks in one hand and have a soup spoon ready scoop in the other hand. Carefully pick up the soup dumpling from the top knot with the chopsticks and place it on the soup spoon.
  2. Nip the top of the dumpling and slurp the soup. Careful! It's hot. 
  3. Add the vinegar/soy sauce/ginger sauce to the drained dumpling and enjoy!
FoodMandy HongNYC, Food