Review: Trader Joe's Steamed Chicken Soup Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao)

9:00 AM

If you had the misfortune to never have tried Xiao Long Bao, you are surely missing out. 

What are Xiao Long Bao's, you may be wondering?

Xiao Long Baos are little droplets of heaven filled with some sort of meat and soup. The soup is what really makes it special. There are few things more satisfying than poking a hole in an expertly crafted Xiao Long Bao, pour vinegar in your soup spoon, and slurping the entire thing up.

The sign of a well made Xiao Long Bao is also the skin of the dumpling. I like to think, the thinner the skin, the more well made it is. 

Din Tai Fung is a famous restaurant chain known for their Xiao Long Baos. DTF has locations all over the world, including Asia (obviously) and Southern California. I even hear they will be opening a location in Northern California!
Din Tai Fung located in Taiwan in Taipei 101. I waited over 2+ hours to eat here!

Photo Credit: Tripadvisor

Photo credit: Trip advisor
It's very rare to find a restaurant that serves Xiao Long Bao other than eating at Din Tai Fung. I have yet to find one as good; if you readers have any suggestions, please feel free to comment below!

On those days that you are seriously craving Xiao Long Bao, but do not want to risk an unsatisfactory experience at a mediocre Chinese restaurant, there is always Trader Joe's.

That's right. Trader Joe's sells Xiao Long Baos!

They are on the expensive side for 6 dumplings, about $2.99 a box. 

They are super simple to make! I initially thought I might have to own a steamer basket, but microwave works as well.

What the dumplings look like out of their package.

 I followed the instructions to pop these dumplings into the microwave for a few minutes and they were ready to eat.


The verdict: Not so bad!

While they're not cheap (comes out to about $.50 per piece), they were a lot better than I anticipated them to taste.

I was pleasantly surprised to taste the soup inside each dumpling. No, these will not taste like Din Tai Fung, but they are a solid choice when you are craving Xiao Long Bao but do not want to endure the effort and wait time at a restaurant.

I recommend these dumplings to try if you are curious. If you are an extreme Xiao Long Bao-enthusiast, you may think these too average for your tastebuds.

You can find each box of Steamed Chicken Soup Dumplings for $2.99 in the frozen foods aisle.

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