What I did not know is that the 汤 is inside the 包. To eat the 汤包, one must place the little dumpling on a soup spoon and puncture it with the chopstick. The steam seeps out of the hole, as does some of the soup, onto the spoon. Blow on it and take a bite; drink the half teaspoon of soup. In my excitement and hunger, I just bit into it. The steam burned my lips as it escaped from the 包. Rookie mistake, but hardly uncommon. It didn't matter that I my lips were sizzling, I was hooked.
I now know the secret to the 汤包. For a long time, I was puzzled. How did they get the soup into the dumpling? Apparently, the meat and/or vegetable filling is mixed with a gelatinous broth that melts inside the dumpling when steamed. Brilliant. Decadent. Addictive.
Join me in Shanghai for a Chow Fun tour and try truly authentic 汤包. I promise to remind you to puncture the dumplings first.