Shanghai soup dumplings (xiaolongbao). When I hear those three words, I salivate like Pavlov’s dogs. The waiter brings in the bamboo dumpling steamer and opens the top. Steam rolls out like smoke from a chimney top. As the steam dissipates eight tender, fluffy, white dumplings are resting on a bed of dried leaves.
I pick up my chopsticks and my soup spoon, and carefully pry the first dumpling from the steamer by the top; making sure to not break the skin of the dumpling. I guide the soup dumpling to the dipping bowl of Chinkiang vinegar and the slivers of ginger and gently dip the precious steamed bun.
I nibble a piece of the top of the dumpling off and slowly sip a small amount of the soup cautiously to not burn my tongue. I let the delicious soup whirl within my mouth before swallowing it. I give the dumpling one last glance before putting the rest of it in my mouth. The sensation of the taste explosions causes the world to slow down for a quick second like the moment the roulette ball hits a number for a gambler.
After recovering from the time stopping amazing experience, I look up to go for another dumpling, but there’s no more! I forgot that I was with other people. I turn around and ask the waiter for another order.