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Xiao Long Bao – The Hutong Center

By Lillian Nguyen

Again, TBC staff has given us an amazing opportunity to gain cultural awareness through weekend activities. For this opportunity I was able to attend my first ever cooking class at a place called The Hutong. The cutest little gem inside the huge maze of old Beijing. I went with Sebastian, a fellow TBC student to make a special soup dumpling that is popular to eat in southern China.

As soon as Sebastian and I arrived we were warmly greeted into their kitchen with tea and snacks. Classes are small, ours only had 5 people, but this helped so that our teacher, Yao could pay more attention to our wrapping technique.

On of the great attributes to the Hutong center is their location. A bit difficult to find coming from the subway stop, but not far at all. A two story hutong that overlooks the vast jungle of other stone houses and structures. Quaint and relaxing, just what you need on a Sunday morning.

We exchanged stories about our Chinese proficiency and knowledge of cooking all in just a few hours. The Xiao Long Baos were so easy to make! The only thing was that they were time consuming. There is a lot of prep work to make all of the ingredients for these little bundles of juicy dumplings. Most of the prep work was done by our Ayi, and they even gave us a cute little packet on how to make them at home! The most difficult part if wrapping the dumplings. I had an easier time to wrap them considering I had smaller hands, as compared to Sebastian. All in all it was a great experience and they tasted delicious!!

Here is some of the process: