Asia

'Exploding' soup dumpling video angers Asian foodies

Dumplings Image copyright TimeOut London
Image caption "You're not supposed to pop the dumplings! *Asians screaming everywhere*"

Asian food lovers are fuming over a video they say "manhandles" traditional soup dumplings.

The video published by Time Out London on Facebook shows diners attempting to burst their Xiao Long Bao (little basket buns), and throw out the soup.

Originating in China, Xiao Long Bao have a passionate foodie fan following.

Many point out the traditional way is to suck out the soup and eat the dumplings. Time Out said it burst them in order to show the soup inside.

The steaming hot broth is, for many, the most prized part of each Xiao Long Bao.

"Love popping spots and eating dumplings? Combine the two with exploding soup dumplings," Time Out London says in a post on how to eat dumplings served at a restaurant in London.

"They're super dribbly and also very satisfying to watch," the video adds, showing several dumplings being broken with chopsticks.

Characterised by its translucent skin, each dumpling is filled with juicy minced pork and broth and eaten with ginger strips and vinegar.

Popular in many Asian countries, its Taiwanese version has earned a Michelin star.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionHow to eat Xiao Long Bao

The video has been widely panned by food lovers on Facebook, many of whom criticised the "lack of education" that went into filming.

"The entire video was one big blasphemy. I'm screaming internally and not in an excited way," said Kenneth Ting. "That is not how you eat Xiao Long Bao. It's a complete waste of something so good."

"This video is giving me anxiety because you are definitely not supposed to squeeze the soup out of them or 'explode' them as you crudely put it," said Christina Chan in a Facebook comment that drew more than 1,000 likes.

"My traditional food is not here just for your next cool trend."


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Similar anger was expressed by other users who watched the video, like Singaporean Jasmine Tan. She wrote: "Watching you waste all that soup is akin to someone getting fish and chips and peeling the batter off."

"This is not 'hip' or cool. Just eat it right and stop wasting the best part: [the soup]," said Casey Pardue.

Contacted by BBC News, Time Out London said: "We love nothing more than discovering and celebrating incredible food from around the world.

"We burst soup dumplings to show people in our video the delicious soup that was inside them, so they could enjoy the visual treat of the broth that is tasted but not seen.

"Later on, you see the journalist biting into the unburst dumpling and enjoying the 'explosion' on her taste buds."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Some thought it was offensive to the years of training it takes for chefs to create perfect soup dumplings

Brian Chow commenting on the Facebook page offered proper instructions on how to eat Xiao Long Bao.

"The soup inside is not supposed to 'explode' in your bowl but in your mouth," he explained, noting that these special dumplings were "usually more expensive than normal dumplings" because of the extra effort it takes to put the soup inside.

Singaporean food blogger Leslie Tay agrees the video just didn't strike the right tone.

"Soup is the key component of this dumpling," he told BBC News.

"There are many ways of eating Xiao Long Bao, so there is really no fixed way to enjoy it. But you shouldn't play with it like that. It is simply not showing respect to the expertise of the chefs who created it."

"Just like Japanese sushi chefs, it takes a lot of skill to create Xiao Long Bao," he said.

Dr Tay also said that it was probably "just a way of trying to grab attention".

Reporting by the BBC's Heather Chen.

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