Little steamer buns, Shanghai

May 25, 2007

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Distinguished from jioazi (normal dumplings) by their soup-like liquid contained within the buns, xiaolongbao (little steamer buns) are the Shanghainese street-food speciality.

The liquid isn’t inserted into the buns; rather, it’s drawn from the dumpling mix — which presumably has a higher proportion of cabbage to pork to produce the liquid — during the steaming process. Delicious.

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We had the xiaolongbao with some glass noodle soup served with tofu, blocks of congealed pig’s blood, and other random body parts, opposite a prison (pictured), which allegedly holds 20,000. Spookily, from our streetside lunch spot, prisoners could watch us through the shutters, but we couldn’t see them.

Some Spanish people told D off for taking photos of the prison. This just made him take even more photos. From above, a guard was eyeing us intently. D said, encouragingly, ‘how fast can you run?’ Luckily congealed pig’s blood provides a lot of energy.

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