Xiaolongbao (Chinese Soup Dumplings) in Macau

小笼包 Xioalongbao (Chinese soup dumplings)

from a small local shop in Macau

It was late, and we had taken the wrong bus. I had started to suspect that something was awry as my iPhone's map app showed that we had turned off of the road I had hoped to travel down and to a part of Macau that I was entirely unfamiliar with. My concerns were realized when the bus stopped and the driver switched off the lights. It was the end of the line, and we had somehow ended up at the Macau-Mainland China border.

Delicious Pork Xiaolongbao, Macau

Foolishly, I made the decision to try and walk back to the hotel (Macau is tiny! How long could it take?), but after about an hour, my feet were aching and I was hungry and tired. We had already been walking around all day, and my ever-patient girlfriend could tell that if we didn't stop to eat something soon, I was going to get cranky. Taking me by the hand, Pinky dragged me into the nearest restaurant, where an inviting warm glow was coming through the tiny window. It was a hole-in-the-wall sort of place, and as soon as we stepped inside and took a seat at one of the only three tables, we were greeted warmly in Cantonese by the cheerful woman who ran the shop.

Xiaolongbao has a long history and an origin in eastern China. Xiaolongbao is sometimes translated into English as "soup dumpling" or "filled steam bun". This steamed xiaolongbao are filled with savory pork and a mild soup broth. To eat them, you have to pick up the little pouch with your chopsticks, take a tiny bite from the corner, slurp out the delicious soup, then pop the whole thing in your mouth.

We didn't have any idea what we should order, and the entire menu was printed in Chinese. Fortunately, the shop owner came over and pointed at one of the items on the menu, then looked at us expectantly. We just nodded. We figured that we couldn't go wrong with her recommendation.

It took about twenty minutes for the dumplings to arrive, and as we waited, we got to watch the woman shaping each dumpling by hand! When the box finally arrived in front of us, I was so hungry, and the dumplings looked amazing. It was the perfect comfort food on a chilly autumn day. After one careful bite (it was very hot!), we just couldn't stop our greed and ate the whole box in just a few minutes.

Xialongbao is like a delicious little bomb of soup that bursts with flavor. The soup was mellow and warm, and the pork was very tender and tasty. We dipped each bite in vinegar as the shopkeeper showed us, which added even more flavor to the xiaolongbao. Her handmade xiaolongbao filled me with happiness and warmth and gave us the energy to keep walking! 

Location: I regret that I did not note down where this amazing xiaolongbao shop was. I've tried searching for it again, but no luck. If you have any tips, please leave me a comment! I would be super grateful. It was somewhere along a fairly busy main road in northern Macau near the mainland Chinese checkpoint.

If you can read Chinese, please help me out! I have a photograph of the front of the restaurant as well as the menu.

😃 A lifesaver!