Xiaolongbao is probably the most famous food in Shanghai. It’s a dumpling filled with some meat or shrimp with a heavy dose of soup. When you eat it, you first poke a little hole in the dumpling and drink the soup. Only then do you eat the actual dumpling. If you don’t drink the soup first, it can squirt out and burn your lips.
I happened to be in Shanghai when there was a food festival going on. There were quite a few famous chefs who head many Michelin-starred restaurants throughout the world. One of them was Masterchef Canada judge Alvin Leung who helms the 3-starred Hong Kong restaurant Bo Innovation. He was in Shanghai to open two new restaurants on the Chinese mainland.
One of the dishes he presented was a molecular soup dumpling that I had heard so much about. I was presented with one big spoon with one big jiggly ball on top. It was a sphere of soup based on Ferran Adria’s method of spherification. Through the magic of science the soup had formed an outer skin, leaving the inside fluid. When I bit into it all the soup came gushing out giving you a similar sensation to a normal soup dumpling. \
I was stunned. I couldn’t help but keep grinning. It was just such an amazing experience. Not only was it textural sensation, it also tasted superb. From that day on I consider myself a fan of Alvin Leung. Hopefully one day I’ll have enough money in my pocket to visit Bo Innovation.
Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 10