A treatise on Xiao Long Bao origins and styles, reasonably translatable in Chrome browser

Did you know that in Spain, if you want Xiao Long Bao, you order up some “Bruce Lee”? (Well, “xiao long” in simplified Chinese can be misread as “little dragon” and Bruce Lee’s professional name was “Li Xiao Long” so…)

The link below delivers an interesting little treatise on the origins and the four main styles of XLB: Nanxiang, Wuxi, Changzhou and Nanjing. (For reference, Din Tai Fung serves the Nanjing Tang Bao style.)

It’s nicely illustrated, partially because of two photos by (ahem) me, one of the XLB at Fu Chun Xiaolong and the other of diners at Shang Wei Guan (mis-attributed to “culture trip”), both taken in Shanghai.




Thanks for sharing. It was an interesting read. My favorite part was:

“Changzhou plus crab Xiaolong foreskin is thin and stuffed with more halo, paying attention to a “sweet person and other gimmicks, can not be hoes and other people.” That can achieve the best taste.”

My browser translates it thusly:

Unlike the sweetness of Wuxi, Changzhou Xiaocang is a savory route. And the crab yellow dumplings are characterized by “thin and transparent skin, rich marinade, craby nose, fat but not greasy, rich juice and fresh meat.” Those who will eat will choose to use vinaigrette and tender ginger to have a better flavor.

What is the proper translation of “cage”, in the Chrome English version?

Small Cage or Cage in the article = Xiao Long Bao, the writer wrote Xiao Long and the translation got strange with Google.

Literally translated, Xiao = Small ,Long = cage/basket, Bao = bun

cage = basket = bamboo steamer. The “xiao long” in xiao long bao properly means “small steamer” With simplified characters it can be misread as “small dragon.”

Wow that’s a much more eloquent and, I assume, accurate translation!

It’s a “Great Leap Forward” for Google’s translation AI. If our browser doesn’t use Google translation, you can use the Google Translate site:


Interesting that the Nanjing style are steamed pleat side down!

Is that how you understood the translation? Best I can come up with is “xiao long bao are closed at the top but Nanjing tang bao are closed up at the bottom [which I suppose amounts to the same thing] …however, nowadays some Nanjing Tang Bao are closed at the top.”

The photo above the text appears to be from a famous old shop in Nanjing, Yin Shi Tang Bao, and one reviewer commented “I heard that the traditional Nanjing soup bag closed down, it was said that the soup did not leak out, and it was said that the soup would not evaporate upwards, and then lost the delicious.” She went on to say that they could not bec onfused with XLB, and in the photo they do look more like steamed jiaozi.

I’ve never been to Nanjing, but the baozi served at Jia Jia Tang Bao, Nanjing Tang Bao and Din Tai Fung in Shanghai are all of the “modern” (pleated and closed at the top) style.

I’m a slave to Google translate on that one!, and was mainly playing off of the photo in the Nanjing section of the article, which shows seamless dumplings and no topknot.

IIRC, you’ve said that DTF is Nanjing style instead of Nanxiang style. Does this article change that opinion?

I wonder if any local versions are Wuxi style, in particular I-shanghai dumpling ( Fremont, Sacramento, soon San Ramon), which has a sweeter version that I’ve encountered elsewhere.

No , the three I mentioned would all fit the “nowadays” style of Nanjing Tang Bao. thinner skin, more soup and less meat than XLB.

Wuxi style are generally larger as well as sweeter than other XLB. The chopsticks should give you some perspective here. (Mr. Cai, Shanghai)