We love xiao long baos (XLBs). We love the explosion of juicy goodness in our mouths when we bite into its delicate thin skin. However, it is really difficult to find cheap and good xiao long bao in the heartlands of Singapore.
While Din Tai Fung does make some really good XLBs, but it is too uneconomical to pay almost $1.50 for one XLB. Many xiao long bao sold in food courts and hawker centres were pretty sub par. Either the dough was too thick or there were too little broth in the xiao long bao. That is until when we found the best deal in Singapore at Alexander Food Market.
What Makes a Good Xiao Long Bao?
Before we go into deeper details into the review of Shanghai La Mian Xiao Long Bao at Alexander Food Market, let us share with you our top 3 criterias for a good xiao long bao.
The skin should be delicately thin, yet strong enough to hold a healthy amount of soup without leaking or breaking when lifted out of the steamer. If the skin is too thick, the raw taste of the dough will drown the overall sweetness of the broth.
The broth is the crux of a good xiao long bao. We have tried many xiao long bao and were often disappointed with the amount of broth inside it. With little broth within the xiao long bao, you are merely tasting a normal steamed dumpling.
The quality of condiments are often overlooked by many. Ginger slices should be fresh and finely sliced. Black vinegar should not be diluted to save cost.
Shanghai Xiao Long Bao @ Alexander Food Market
Shanghai La Mian’s XLBs fulfills all three criteria with ease. They are plump, exquisite and juicy. The taste is definitely comparable to Ding Tai Fung which is selling more than $12 for 10 xiao long baos.
Coupled with fine ginger slices with mouth watering explosion of juices, we definitely recommend all XLBs lovers to give it a go. Most importantly, they are very affordable at $4.50 per steamer (7 xiao long bao).
Updated: Since the date of the review, there have been growing numbers of Shanghai La Mian branches all over Singapore. While they still deliver good quality xiao long baos, we still prefer to go back to Alexander Village. There are other good and cheap food such as spicy dumplings (红油抄手) which are even better than their xiao long baos.
Have you tried the xiao long baos from Shanghai La Mian at Alexander Village? What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below!