These addictive parcels filled with pork and broth have been drawing crowds since HuTong Group opened its first dumpling bar in 2008 down Melbourne's Market Lane.

Kids press their faces against the glass window that looks through to the kitchen, and diners watch dumpling masters assemble each tiny package with the flick of a wrist.

HuTong Prahran head chef, Jun Jing Hua, has been making xiao long bao for more than a decade, so there's no need to worry if you don't perfect them right away. The chef has a few tips that are invaluable for first-timers: lightly flour the bench before rolling your dough to avoid having to scrape it off later; always make it fresh (it's easier to secure it around the filling this way); and make sure there are no holes in the wrapping.

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To make the soup, the HuTong kitchen boils pork skin until it turns to jelly before mixing it with the filling. At home, your best bet is to use chicken or pork bone stock. If you have time, homemade is always best.

Makes 15 dumplings


100g plain flour
2½ tablespoons cold water
black vinegar, to serve
finely sliced ginger, to serve


100g minced pork leg
½ teaspoon finely chopped spring onion
½ teaspoon grated ginger

½ teaspoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon oyster sauce
½ teaspoon MSG powder

½ teaspoon chicken powder

½ teaspoon caster sugar

1 pinch of grounded black pepper
1 drop of sesame oil
2 tablespoons pork bone soup or stock


Place the flour on a wooden pastry board, add the cold water in two or three additions and knead until a dough forms. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside on the bench for 20 minutes.

Add all the filling ingredients apart from the stock to a blender along with 1 teaspoon of water and blend until smooth. Blend in the stock and refrigerate, covered, until needed.

Roll the dough into a long rope on a floured benchtop and cut into 15 pieces of about 10g each. Using a rolling pin, roll each piece into a circle about 10cm in diameter, with the skin thicker in the middle and quite thin at the edges. Portion the meat mixture and place in the middle of each skin. Bring up the sides and pinch to close the dumplings, ensuring that the dumpling are sealed and that there are no holes in the skin.

Add the dumpling to a bamboo steamer lined with baking paper (with holes poked in the paper to allow the steam to circulate) and steam for about 8–10 minutes over a saucepan of boiling water. Do not overcook as the skins may split.

Once cooked, serve immediately with the black vinegar and finely sliced ginger.

This is an extract from The Broadsheet Melbourne Cookbook, which contains 80 recipes from the city’s best restaurants, cafes and bars.