Best Xiao Long Bao - 2012
Tao Tao Noodle Bar
Making soup dumplings — especially really good soup dumplings — is a craft, and world-class dumpling-makers even fight over the correct number of folds required for the top of each bun. Tao Tao Noodle Bar goes with eighteen. But consuming soup dumplings is also something of an art, especially at Tao Tao, where we want to start shoving the little morsels in our mouths the second they hit the table, burning our esophagi to a crisp. Instead, we wait for the right moment, when we pluck a dumpling by its twist so that none of the liquid can escape, put it in a spoon with a little pepper and vinegar, then nibble a hole in the side so that the soup gushes out of the wrapper and into the spoon, creating a tart, pungent, garlicky broth that warms our hearts and souls. When we've sucked that down, we pop the doughy wrap in our mouths and savor the herb-flecked, ground-pork meatball inside. And then we do it again and again and again.