It can be argued that there is no such thing as the best Xiao Long Bao in Jakarta, and it is indeed true that when looking for a favorite variant of the Chinese delicacy, Indonesia’s capital is at no loss for great places to choose from.
However, I write this post with the pure conviction that I have indeed found one of the greatest dim-sum restaurants in the giant durian (one of Jakarta’s many nicknames) and it may come as no surprise to some of you, and a disappointment to others, that the best Xiao Long Bao in Jakarta can be had at the Michelin starred Chinese restaurant, Din Tai Fung.
Truffle Xiao Long Bao (left) and Chicken & Vegetable Xiao Long Bao (right)
What is Xiao Long Bao?
Xiao Long Bao are soup filled dumplings, which are often served with a chicken or prawn filling. In recent years, restaurants around the world have started playing with the flavors of XLB, and you can now also get more exotic fillings in your dumplings, including Truffle XLB (as pictured above), Bolognese, Taro and even Cheese versions of my favorite Chinese morsels.
Xiao Long Bao are some of my favorite dumplings of all time with the soup as the piece de resistance that you should sip while still hot (don’t ever let the soup escape from the dumpling, unless it’s directly into your mouth!)
How to eat Xiao Long Bao
Eating Xiao Long Bao is a bit of an art, and it’s imperative that you don’t lose any of the soup when consuming your dumpling . For this reason, it’s advised to use a Chinese soup spoon along with chopsticks to eat your savory morsel, but before that, you should create the sauce you will be dipping your dumplings in.
At every proper dim sum restaurant, you will be served a number of condiments to mix yourself, including vinegar, soy sauce, chili and sliced ginger. Each diner has their own little bowl with ginger slices in it, and you can then add the vinegar, soy sauce and chili as you see fit.
The recommended ratio of soy sauce to vinegar is 1 to 3, and you should always put the soy sauce in before the vinegar.
Once you’ve created your sauce, you should take your Xiao Long Bao with chopsticks, and dip it into the sauce gently. Then place your dumpling on your spoon, and add a few slices of ginger to the top. Bite into the dumpling at the top if you wish to release some of the heat from the soup before eating it.
Prawn wontons in a spicy Szechuan sauce
In addition to Xiao Long Bao, Din Tai Fung serves a plethora of other great Chinese dishes, including crispy roast duck, soft shell crab in black pepper sauce, stir fried beef and broccoli and enough dim-sum to feed even the pickiest diner.
It probably comes as no surprise that this is my choice for Xiao Long Bao in the city, but I’m sure I’ve also missed some other foodie gems in Jakarta! What are your favorite dim sum restaurants (and specifically Xiao Long Bao places) in Jakarta, or in your city?
Stay tuned for more food adventures from #thetastytraveller!