Leading up to September's Best of Dallas® 2016 issue, we're sharing (in no particular order) our 100 Favorite Dishes, the Dallas entrées, appetizers and desserts that really stuck with us this year.
There are certain foods that might, at first, seem like magic. How are they made? Think about the first time you tried a chocolate with alcohol in the center, or a first encounter with molecular gastronomy. One of the most how-do-they-do-it foods of all, though, is China's soup dumpling.
A specialty of the area around Shanghai, soup dumplings (xiao long bao) are, quite literally, meaty dumplings filled up with soup broth. How do they do it? Xiao long bao is made using a filling that combines meat, usually pork, with a gelatin that melts when steamed. In Dallas, nobody does soup dumplings better than Royal China, where a team of expert dumpling-makers stands along the bar, stretching dough, folding in the meat and loading up bamboo steamers.
Experienced soup dumpling eaters need no further introduction to this physics-defying treat. First-timers should remember to balance the dumpling in a spoon, the better to catch any broth spilling out, and to bite carefully, since the contents are very hot. They're also delicious, so don't miss a single slurp.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.