Xiao Long Bao from Richmond Public Market

Note: The latest post about the Richmond Public Market is of February 2011 and is found on this link.

We had earlier blogged about the Richmond Public Market. This week we went again to the Public Market to have a quick and small lunch because we had plans for a big dinner tonight.

Many of our Chinese friends had recommended that we try the buns from a stall called Tian Jing Northern Cuisine. The buns, called Xiao Long Bao (literally “little basket bun”), were very different in that it is not only filled with meat, it also is filled with broth! It’s amazing how they are made in such a way that the watery broth does not leak or absorb out. You gotta try it and see what I mean.


Xiao Long Bao are traditionally steamed in bamboo baskets, hence the name. It can be filled with hot soup and meat and/or vegetarian fillings, as well as other possibilities. The fillings are wrapped in something like a jiaozi wrapper that turns almost translucent after being steamed. Shanghai steamed buns can be recognized by their unique design, as the filled wrapper is gathered up into fine folds at the top, prior to steaming.

The buns we bought costs just $2.99 for six small buns. Just enough for a light lunch.

We were attracted by another type of buns in the same store which is called Gou Bu Li Bun — translated literally as “even dogs would not touch”!! It looks like ordinary buns.


These buns actually is similar to the smaller Xiao Long Bao — the filling is pork meat and has broth in it too. Unlike other types of buns, you’re advised to eat these buns with a chopstick, not with your hands. It’s because the soup/broth does spill all over your hands. The soup inside is created by placing some meat gelatin inside the dumpling before steaming. The steam heat melts the gelatin into soup.

This dish costs $4.75 for six buns and comes with a spicy and sour soup.


Personally I felt that it’s really nothing special other than the fact that it is filled with soup. It’s just OK but if I want buns I will go for char siew pau anytime.

You know what? I might just blog about making char siew pau one of these days.

Tian Jing Northern Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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  1. Rob In China

    They look like tiny dumplings found in China. It’s strange that they look like there is so much meat in them since Northern Chinese cuisine does not have a lot of meat ingredients. Dumplings in Northern China do have meat, but is also mixed with chives, cabbage or other vegetables (they make better fillers!). I guess things have changed, or maybe it’s just a North American adaptation.

    Is this the Richmond market in British Columbia?

  2. Ben

    Hey Rob:
    I learn new things everyday! I guess you’re right having travelled in China. Although we’re chinese, we have never lived in China before. Maybe the dumplings has been adapted to the North American market — we loved more meat, right? Anyway, to your question, Richmond is a city just south of Vancouver, British Columbia. It’s a very “chinesey” surburb.

  3. lul

    omg they are my favorites…so hungry now ^_^

  4. Opus

    Goubuli bun is a Tianjin specialty, eventhough as a Tianjin native I never bothered to try it. Recently the original Goubuli shop invented a laughable English name for it: “Go Believe”.
    Personally, Northern Chinese food is quite heavy on the meats, a bit more so than some southern cuisines. Well, neither Xialongbao or Goubuli aren’t really dumplings(Jiaozi), they’re buns and it’s quite normal to have all meat filling buns in China.

  5. Anna

    That looks absolutely amazing! One of my favorite things about visiting China is getting to eat! I have yet to visit Northern China, but when I do, I know what I’m getting.

  6. Haley

    Do you have basic dough recipe for chinese baked bun ?

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