Rappler Eats: Love xiao long bao? You have to try this soup dumpling

Amanda T. Lago
Rappler Eats: Love xiao long bao? You have to try this soup dumpling
Mai Wei Fang in Robinsons Ermita brings this hearty dish to Manila

People in Manila love xiao long bao – the proliferation of restaurants that serve them say as much. But there’s another kind of soup dumpling that may soon make its way into the hearts of local foodies: sheng jian bao.

Just like XLB, sheng jian bao offers an explosion of broth with every bite, but with more meat and slightly less soup. What makes it even more special is that it is twice-cooked — first, pan-fried, and then steamed.

The method creates a crispy crust at the bottom of the dumpling, giving it a more interesting texture.

Sheng jian bao is served at the newly-opened restaurant, Mai Wei Fang. According to owner David Lim, the dish is an ancient one – about 400 years old. The dish itself comes from Shanghai, and was originally served in streetside teahouses.

Mai Wei Fang is located in Robinsons Place Ermita, and as far as David knows, is the first place of its kind to serve this unique soup dumpling. A serving is 6 pieces (P165), and is filling enough to be shared.

Of course, Mai Wei Fang also serves other dishes, mostly ancient recipes from Northeast China.

Many of the dishes on their menu are not those one would immediately associate with Chinese cuisine — especially since on this side of town, siomai, fried rice, and pancit still reign supreme as far as Chinese food goes. Mai Wei Fang sort of expands one’s knowledge on that region’s culinary offerings, with dishes that are anchored more on good bread than on rice.

The Shao Bing Sandwich (P155), for instance, is built on a piece of soft, flaky bread, and filled with scrambled egg, pork floss, and a crisp Chinese doughnut (You Tiao) – with an option to add a juicy piece of Chinese fried chicken if you so desire. The dish itself is

There is also the Cong You Bing (P80), a green onion pancake, similar to Indian naan, that many historians say is over 2,000 years old. Perfect for snacking, the dish has the just the right amount of flavor, and is filling, but just enough.

To top it all off, there is the You Tiao Dessert (P100) – which is the same Chinese doughnut included in the Shao Bing, but with a sweet twist. The doughnut itself is almost like a churro, but is a dessert in its own right when topped off with sweetened milk and crushed peanuts.

For refreshments, the restaurant serves chilled soy milk (P75 for 12 oz), and chilled wintermelon tea (P75 for 12 oz) – both of which are good for washing down a filling meal.

If you’re craving for or if you want to rediscover Chinese cuisine, try Mai Wei Fang on the Ground Floor of the Adriatico Wing at Robinsons Place, Ermita. – Rappler.com

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Amanda T. Lago

After avoiding long-term jobs in favor of travelling the world, Amanda finally learned to commit when she joined Rappler in July 2017. As a lifestyle and entertainment reporter, she writes about music, culture, and the occasional showbiz drama. She also hosts Rappler Live Jam, where she sometimes tries her best not to fan-girl on camera.