With the opening of Himali Eats in College Hill, there’s now a restaurant in town that serves dumplings. They do have plans to offer soup dumplings in the future. But until then, soup dumplings are nowhere to be found in Wichita.
If you’ve never had soup dumplings before or as they are known as around the world, xiaolongbao, it’s a Chinese steamed bun filled with hot soup. If you want to try them in Wichita, your best bet at the moment is at Trader Joe’s. They sell them in the frozen section for $2.99 for a box of six.
On both trips to Trader Joe’s, they had a steamed chicken soup dumpling and a pork & ginger soup dumpling.
We picked up both boxes and prepared them at home. There’s a microwave option for a couple minutes which we used. The more traditional way is to use steamer baskets but we didn’t have any around the house. Here’s what a steamer basket looks like. This picture was from a trip to Seattle when I ate my weight in soup dumplings.
With no steamer baskets, we popped them in the microwave for two minutes and they were piping hot upon coming out. By using the microwave, the texture was completely different as anyone can imagine. The soft doughy feel that typically comes with a soup dumpling was gone and replaced with a slight rubbery texture.
The dumplings themselves were about average and what you’d expect from a microwave soup dumpling. The broth inside was warm and a bit salty. There were small chunks of pork and chicken in each one. At $2.99 and from a grocery store, my expectations were low…. like very low. So did they reach those low expectations? Sure. Would I try them again? Probably but I’d wait a few months until I’m craving them again.
Should you try them? Why not? At $2.99, they aren’t breaking the bank but you’ll need to buy a few boxes if you want to get full.
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