Soup dumplings, or xiao long bao, are a deliciously delicate type of Chinese steamed bun with soup trapped inside. The best ones are crafted one-by-one using a thin, preferably hand-rolled wrapper, then filled with a dollop of marinated meat and a block of gelatin, before being quickly closed with tiny pleats that end with a pinch at the top. The gelatin melts when the dumplings are steamed, which results in a treat with a savory broth surprise. One Dragon Restaurant, more than any other Asian eatery in Houston right now, has perfected the delicate craft of xiao long bao. The dumpling wrapper is very fine and thin without breaking. The soup gushes when you bite into the dumpling, and the meat inside is tender, juicy. There's a reason why the dumplings are the first item on the menu, and also why this restaurant is usually packed with over an hour's wait on weekends.
READERS' CHOICE: Auntie Chang's Dumpling House