Shanghainese soup dumplings
?
Pick up steam … Shanghainese soup dumplings. Photographs: UnTour Shanghai

漸漸加熱.... 上海小籠包。圖片選自:UnTour Shanghai

Any Shanghai denizen who has lived in the city for longer than a few months worships at the altar of xiaolongbao. These steamed buns of goodness – tiny pork dumplings with a slurp of soup wrapped up in a wonton wrapper – provide delicious fodder for debates among Shanghai's foodies.

任何在上海在居住過幾個月或以上的的外來者都會將小籠包崇拜地推上神壇。這些蒸熟的食物宛如女神的臀部–--細細的肉末伴著湯水被包子皮完美的包裝–證明這美味的食物幾乎能打敗上海幾乎所有其它美食。


That said, if anyone tells you the best soup dumplings in the city can be found at Taiwanese chain restaurant Din Tai Fung, give them a polite smile and then turn on your heels and run. Sure, these XLBs may win the day in Melbourne or even San Francisco, but why come to Shanghai, the home of the xiaolongbao, to order your steamer baskets from a chain? No one suggests going to Rome and eating at Pizza Hut, however well the corporation may have localised their flavors to the Italian market.

如果有人告訴你上海最好吃的小籠包在臺灣連鎖飯店鼎泰豐,給他一個禮貌的微笑,脫下你的高跟鞋跑路吧。當然,他家的小籠包可能贏得了墨爾本甚至是舊金山的大獎,但為什么要來上海這個小籠包的故鄉,要一個從流水線上下來的蒸籠嗎?在羅馬沒人會建議去吃必勝客,盡管必勝客家的公司可能會本地話他家的產品來適應意大利的市場。

We also avoid the historic Nanxiang tourist trap in Yu Gardens at all costs. This perennial guidebook favourite is a branch of the original dumpling shop that invented the method for preparing XLBs, but they churn out so many dumplings in a day that the product is wildly inconsistent. In addition, their widely publicised historical connection has led to interminably long lines of hungry tourists who are all searching for a suitable seat to slurp down the dumplings.

我們也無論如何避開有著名歷史的南翔豫園的旅游陷阱。這本多年的旅游指南指出,這是當年發明小籠包的的包子店的一家分店,但是由于他一天要生產這么多的小籠包,以至于包子的形狀瘋狂的不一致。此外,由于他們過分的地宣傳他們的歷史淵源以至于難以計數的饑餓游客都在尋找一個舒適的地方來吃他們的小籠包。

In our humble opinion, there is no single winner of the great xiaolongbao debate – and that's no because we like sitting on the fence. There are two regional varieties of soup dumpling: Nanjing-style, which are actually called tangbao, literally "soup bun," and traditional Shanghainese xiaolongbao. The latter boasts heartier wrappers that hold in a hearty pork meatball in a sweet soup, while Nanjing's offerings have skin so thin it's almost translucent, a more savoury broth, and a smaller serving of pork. In each of these categories, we have a clear winner.

以我們的愚見,在偉大的小籠包辯論會上沒有一個贏家 – 這并不是因為我們毫無立場。有兩個地方品種的湯包子:南京風格的,它實際上是被稱為湯包,字面意思是“湯包子”,和傳統的上海小籠包。后者在皮內包有豐盛的豬肉丸子甜湯,然而南京的樣式包子皮膚非常得薄,幾乎是透明的,更美味的肉湯和小份的豬肉。在這兩個類別中,我們有了一個明確的贏家。

Fu Chun dumpling joint
Fu Chun dumpling joint

富春小籠包連鎖




Gently take a bite out of the top (or the side) and let the steam escape. Then carefully suck out the succulent juice of the xiaolongbao. A second dip into the sauce, after you've drained the melted pork fat, wouldn't hurt. Cue the swan song and pop the xiaolongbao in your mouth whole. Savour. Repeat.

輕輕地把包子頂端(或者旁邊)咬開一個口子讓蒸汽消散,然后小心地吸出包子里流出的豐富湯汁,融化了的豬皮湯汁大概排的差不多后,給包子蘸第二次醬

This is merely a loving ode to the standard Shanghai pork xiaolongbao. We could go into the high-class XLB filled with pork and crab roe, but we'll save that one for another day.

我要歌頌這些標準的上海豬肉小籠包。我們可以進入一流的餐廳吃那些充滿了豬肉和蟹黃的小籠包,但我們要節省,把錢留到明天用。