Dear TimeOut London, xiaolongbaos are not like exploding pimples

Update: It appears TimeOut London has heard the dissent of Asians reverberating across the world wide web and responded in a three-paragraph statement posted on its website. The magazine stated that they were "politely informed" that "bursting these lovely little parcels of culinary joy before they reach your lips really isn't the done thing at all", and also apologised "to anybody who was peeved by our post".

At the same time, TimeOut London also took the opportunity to call on "knowledgeable food-lovers of China and Asia to tell us what traditional delicacies we Londoners should try - and how to eat them properly". Well played, TimeOut London, well played. But we accept your apology, now let's hope everyone does.

An open letter to TimeOut London

Dear TimeOut London,

Thank you for trying to introduce the wonderful world of Chinese cuisine to the city of London.

And also, for helping to unite the entire Asian continent on one noble cause - to restore honour to the shamed xiaolongbao, a Shanghai delicacy you very offensively likened to pus-filled pimples in your Facebook post on March 28.

Love popping spots AND eating dumplings? Combine the two with exploding soup dumplings at Dumplings Legend

Posted by Time Out London on Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Don't get us wrong, we dig the excitement you have for this traditional Chinese dumpling dish. But judging by the outrage you've caused, wouldn't it have been more sensible for you to first find out how to eat this delicious morsel of traditional meat-filled goodness before calling it an "exploding soup dumpling"?

We understand, it must all be so confusing - pick it up with a pair of chopsticks and you'll realise the tiny xiaolongbao is heavier than it looks, packs a whole lot of soup and more meat than expected.

And its skin, let's not forget its skin, so fragile it could burst with a slight poke, and yet so strong that you could hold it up with chopsticks without spoiling the surprise inside.

It's all right. There's still hope.

We've decided to clear up the misunderstanding once and for all - the xiaolongbao is NOT supposed to explode.

Yes, that's right. It's not. And certainly not in your plate or bowl.

Photo: Video Screengrabs
Photo: Video screengrabs

As one Facebook user Cristian Tsang so aptly put it: "You're not supposed to pop the dumplings *Asians screaming everywhere*".

Photo: Facebook screengrab

If we can't convince you, perhaps Taiwanese xiaolongbao restaurant Din Tai Fung, which happens to be one of the top restaurants in the world, can.

According to instructions displayed at Din Tai Fung restaurants, the bite-sized xiaolongbao must be picked up gently by the tip.

Photo: Din Tai Fung

Next, it should be dipped lightly in a vinegar-soy sauce mixture.

Place the xiaolongbao in your spoon and create a small hole in the skin. Some of the piping hot broth will then ooze out slowly. If you sip it, you'll realise how wasteful you've been by bursting the dumpling prematurely on your plate all this while!

The last step is to add a few slices of ginger (which should be soaked in the same sauce mixture as before) on top of the dumpling.

Voila! The glorious xiaolongbao is now ready to enter your mouth.

You see, the highlight of the xiaolongbao is actually its soup. In China, it is not rare to see extra large versions of the xiaolongbao being sold.

Served in individual steam baskets, "XL" xiaolongbao is around the size of a ceramic side-plate. It comes with a straw sticking out of its head.

You'll have to sip up the soup with the straw before you can break open the dumpling to access its fillings.

While exotic to the rest of the world, this Chinese delicacy is almost 150 years old and has spawned a whole range of variations from minced pork to crab roe.

These days, there is even foie gras and truffle-flavoured xiaolongbao! It's a beautiful part of Chinese cuisine, and we hope you enjoy it the way it's meant to be enjoyed.

And please, stop wasting all that incredible broth by bursting the dumpling skin before it arrives on your spoon.

Photo: Facebook screengrab