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Dining9/28/16
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How NYC's Enormous Soup Dumplings Get Made

Drunken Dumpling's XL XLB are so big you need a straw to eat them

Lately, there’s been a line outside Drunken Dumpling in Manhattan’s East Village. Diners (and Instagrammers) are waiting for bamboo steamer baskets filled with XL XLB, otherwise known as giant xiao long bao, or Shanghai soup dumplings.

The new dumpling joint, which is owned by mother-and-son team Qihui Guan and Yuan Lee, turns out just 25 of the dumplings a day at the moment, because Guan is the only one with the expertise to make them. She takes an eight-hour broth of vegetables, pork, chicken, crab and shrimp, and adds gelatin to it before placing it in the refrigerator. Once it’s set, she wraps the filling up carefully in a dumpling wrapper, steams and serves it with a straw to slurp up the delicious broth.

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Formerly a math teacher in Beijing, Guan started working in dumpling restaurants when she moved to the U.S. 15 years ago—including a stint at soup dumpling destination Joe’s Shanghai—because of the language barrier. “Her hobby in China was to make dumplings. She took New Year’s Eve dumplings very seriously,” Lee comments.  

Those dumplings, a Beijing-style pot sticker, are also on the menu, as are pork and bell pepper dumplings, which Lee’s uncle reports are popular in their hometown.

Hungry yet? Watch how the XL XLB get made.