Xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) are one of Shanghai’s most popular street foods. The steamed dumpling is usually filled with pork or shrimp that’s surrounded by a hot broth but can be made with seafood. At his New York restaurant Little Alley, chef Yuchun Cheung, who was born and raised in Shanghai, serves the food he grew up eating. Here’s his recipe for xiaolongbao.


Servings: About 35


For the gelatin:

8 cups water
1 pound pork skin
Slices of ginger as needed

For the filling:

1 pound minced pork
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 cup chicken stock
Black pepper as needed

For the dumpling dough:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup water

For the dipping sauce:

1 cup black vinegar
6 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons fresh ginger strips
1 teaspoon oyster oil
Ginger and scallion as needed, ground



Combine 8 cups water, the pork skin, and the slices of ginger in a pot of oil for 6 hours or until the liquid is reduced by half. Strain the liquid, discard the solids, and set aside to cool in the fridge for a day or until it sets. When it’s ready, quarter the gelatin, then peel it from the pan. Finely chop the mixture into small cubes and set it aside.


Combine the minced pork, sugar, salt, soy sauce, sesame oil, chicken stock, ground black pepper in large bowl and mix just until blended. Set the mixture aside.


Make the dough by placing the flour in food processor, and while the processor is running, slowly drizzle in one cup of boiled water until a dough is formed. Transfer to a bowl. Cover with a damp towel and let it rest for 30 minutes. Divide the dough into 35 pieces, and roll each into balls that are about 4 inches in diameter.

To form the dumplings, place 1 spoon of minced pork and 1 gelatin in the center of a wrapper. Moisten the edges of the wrapper with a wet fingertip. Pleat edges of the wrapper repeatedly, pinching the edge closed after each pleat until the entire dumpling is sealed. Pinch and twist the top to seal. Transfer sealed dumplings to a lightly floured wooden board.

Dipping sauce:

Make the dipping sauce. Mix the black vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and fresh ginger strips in a small bowl. Set aside.

Now you’re ready to cook the dumplings. Line each layer of a bamboo steamer basket with liner paper, and place the basket over a wok filled with enough water to reach just below the bottom of the basket. Place six dumplings in each steamer.

Bring the water to boil and cover the basket. Steam until cooked through. Add more water to the wok if it evaporates too quickly. Immediately serve the dumplings with the dipping sauce. Enjoy!