'Exploding' xiao long bao video backfires on London magazine

Time Out London produced a video of 'exploding' soup dumplings that irked lovers of Asian food, who said they were wasting the best part of the xiao long bao - the broth.
Time Out London produced a video of 'exploding' soup dumplings that irked lovers of Asian food, who said they were wasting the best part of the xiao long bao - the broth.SCREENGRAB: FACEBOOK/TIME OUT LONDON

A video by Time Out London of "exploding soup dumplings" has blown up online, and not in a good way.

Lovers of Asian food are calling out the British magazine for wasting the best part of the soup dumplings, or xiao long bao, by bursting them and letting the broth dribble out before they were eaten.

The video, posted on Facebook on Tuesday (March 28), has garnered more than 800,000 views by Friday morning.

It began with a montage of broken dumplings with captions like "They're super dribbly", and "They're also VERY satisfying to watch".

There were thousands of comments, many critical of the video. Foodies also objected to the Facebook blurb that went: "Love popping spots AND eating dumplings? Combine the two with exploding soup dumplings at Dumplings Legend."

Glenda Chua wrote: "This was so disturbing to watch my heart stopped every time they burst it this is the opposite of satisfying."

Said Jade Yong: "Wow pure ignorance, you guys! Did you just equate Chinese food to popping zits?"

Others used comparisons with western food to make their point.

"Hmm maybe the new food trend from the UK for Asians could be to consume fish and chips by removing the batter from the fish and just have the fish alone," Edith Chua wrote.

In its defence, Time Out London told the BBC that the dumplings were burst for visual effect.

"We burst soup dumplings to show people in our video the delicious soup that was inside them, so they could enjoy the visual treat of the broth that is tasted but not seen.

"Later on, you see the journalist biting into the unburst dumpling and enjoying the 'explosion' on her taste buds," the magazine said.

It also posted an apology online, which said: "After our recent video on Chinese dumplings, we've been politely informed that bursting these lovely little parcels of culinary joy before they reach your lips really isn't the done thing at all.

"So, first off, apologies to anybody who was peeved by our post. Secondly, we'd like to invite the knowledgeable food-lovers of China and Asia to tell us what traditional delicacies we Londoners should try - and how to eat them properly.

"We're an inquisitive bunch at heart you know, and while we don't always do things the traditional way, we're always looking to learn."

Time Out magazine is not the first to be accused of being culturally insensitive.


Last year, American food magazine Bon Appetit was criticised for posting a video of chef Tyler Akin making the Vietnamese noodle dish pho and explaining how to eat it.

British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver earned the ire of Spaniards when he tweeted his recipe for paella which replaced seafood which chicken thighs.

Buzzfeed also ticked Singaporeans off by including an ice cream sandwich in its list of "21 Of The Absolute Worst Sandwiches That Have Ever Happened". The American website later removed it from the article.