How to Eat Soup Dumplings: 3 Best Methods
Not sure how to eat soup dumplings without burning your mouth? No worries—we’ve all been there at least once. There are three different ways we recommend eating them to get the most out of your XLB experience.
Disclaimer: How Not to Eat Soup Dumplings
There are several proper ways to eat soup dumplings. This isn’t one of them.
If you’ve ever gone out for dim sum with friends, you may have learned this lesson the hard way. You may have seen your friend take a soup dumpling out of the bamboo steamer basket the second it hits your table and pop it in their mouth, only to burn their entire tongue and scream when the scalding-hot soup exploded outward.
As fun as it can be to taste the literal flavor explosion that comes with eating a soup dumpling in one bite, this can be dangerous on its own—especially if you’re doing it while the dumplings are still piping hot. No matter how you like to eat your Xiao Long Bao, we always recommend doing one of two things:
As long as you take either (or both) of these steps, you’ll be able to enjoy the juicy, meaty flavor of the soup dumplings without burning yourself. With that in mind, here are a few of our favorite methods.
First Option: Nibble, Pour, and Sip
1. Take a Bite from the Dumpling Wrapper
First, hold a pair of chopsticks in one hand and a soup spoon in the other. Pick up the dumpling with your chopsticks and rest it on the spoon so the dumpling and the soup won’t fall out and spill everywhere, leaving you with just a dry XLB and sadness.
Once you’ve got the soup dumpling in position, take a small bite out of the top or side of the wrapper. Pour all that liquid gold that is the broth into the spoon and set the emptied soup dumpling down on your plate.
2. Sip Up the Soup from the Spoon
Think of this as an overture to the flavors you’ll taste when you bite into the soup dumpling. Savor the umami flavor explosion along with the soup dumpling dipping sauce you added to the broth!
3. Dip the Dumpling in Your Sauce of Choice
Here’s where you can start to choose your own flavor adventure with dipping sauces.
Using your favorite way to zhuj up soup dumplings—whether it’s a ready-made dipping sauce like our Chili Crunch, or your favorite top-secret combination—add the condiments to the broth. This is your chance to make the broth in your soup dumpling taste exactly how you like it!
You’ll notice that every option we have for enjoying your soup dumplings involves adding sauce at some point, in whichever way you like best. You can either dip the dumpling into the sauce as we recommend here, or you can add the sauce inside the dumpling through the hole you created.
4. Eat the Rest of the Xiao Long Bao
Now that you’ve tasted the soup, turn your attention back to the dumpling itself. If you’re a major sauce fiend, you can pour some of your sauce into the hole you bit to let the meat filling intermingle with that tangy or spicy mixture. Then pop the rest of the soup dumpling into your mouth, or take a bite, and enjoy the ride.
Second Option: Nibble and Sip from the Dumpling
1. Bite a Hole in the Wrapper
This method starts similarly to the “Nibble and Pour” technique we just described. Placing your soup dumpling into your spoon as a safety net, bite a hole into the top of the dumpling skin.
However, don’t pour out the soup! We’re taking a bit of a different approach this time around.
2. Drink the Soup Straight from the Dumpling
Instead of drinking the soup from your spoon and adding condiments, you’ll sip the broth directly from the dumpling through the hole you just made with your teeth. While this might seem like a one-way ticket on the Burned Tongue Express, biting a hole into the dumpling allows just enough steam to escape that the soup will be cool enough to drink safely.
3. Fill the Void with Condiments
This may or may not have been something we also did with our college dorm food.
Our favorite thing about the nibble-and-sip method of eating soup dumplings is that it allows you to have multiple flavor experiences in just a few bites. Now that you’ve been able to taste the complex umami flavor of the broth by itself, it’s time to try the filling.
Pour a few drops of your favorite condiments like vinegar or chili oil into the dumpling. The meat filling will be the star of the show alongside your sauces of choice, giving you the chance to make your soup dumpling experience spicy, acidic, or even more umami.
3. Eat the Dumpling and the Soup Together
When you take a bite of the dumpling, you might notice that there’s still a trace amount of broth left inside the dumpling. This will deepen the flavor profile even further. Enjoy every second of this flavor experience before moving on to your second (or thirty-fifth—no judgments here) soup dumpling.
Third Option: Nibble, Cool, and Pop
1. Bite Off the Top of the Dumpling
This is the best way to eat soup dumplings if you prefer eating yours in one bite. However, for safety, we still recommend biting off the pointed top of the dumpling skin to let the steam escape.
2. Wait A Few Minutes
Now comes the hard part. If you have other types of dumplings, side dishes, or drinks on hand, turn your attention to those for a minute or two. Doing this will give your soup dumplings time to cool off while the steam escapes, preventing you from burning the roof of your mouth.
3. Pop the Whole Soup Dumpling in Your Mouth
Once the dumpling has cooled enough, you can pop the whole thing into your mouth and enjoy the non-lethal flavor umami explosion of soup and meat. Whether or not you want to add condiments is up to you, but the hole at the top is the place for them if that’s how you decide to top them off.
Bonus: Use a Dipping Sauce Bowl
There’s one extra way you can eat soup dumplings like a pro: Use a dipping bowl. Our specialty dumpling dipping bowl was designed to help you carry a batch of soup dumplings and your sauce of choice. Now you won’t have to worry about spilling all that umami broth and can dip your soup dumplings in style.
Even better—we designed this number with a pair of grooves so you have a place to rest your chopsticks. You’re welcome.