Quick Chop! James Buns....not to my liking

James Buns - 158 Gouger Street, Adelaide, 5000

On The Chopping Board was invited by James Buns to try out their Xiao Long Bao.  All items were covered by James Buns.

When we received an email from James Buns asking us to come and try their Xiao Long Bao (XLB), to say that some of us were excited was an understatement! Having lived in Hong Kong for a short period of time, I (Mirko) was very much looking forward to seeing whether Adelaide was able to offer some decent XLB. Some of my favourite Honk Kong foods, including XLB, I have written about here.

XLB is a type of Shanghainese steamed dumpling typically filled with pork mince and a soupy broth. Now, this may be personal preference, but the XLB that I am used to are of a smaller size (able to safely fit on a spoon), thin skinned with a flavoursome soupy broth....and this is what I was assessing James' Buns against.

We were offered a number of dumplings to try including the pork mince, pork and prawn and pork and lobster. We also sampled the spicy wonton dumplings. Upon arrival of the XLB we were also provided an instruction sheet on how to eat the XLB. A fun concept that would be useful for those who have not tried such dumplings before. For those who haven't, there is a method to eating these properly as follows:
  • Pick up the XLB with chopsticks from the steamer 
  • Gently dip the XLB into dipping sauce before placing on your spoon
  • Bite the side of the XLB and suck out some of the soup...be careful it can be hot! But this is the best way to savour the buns flavour
  • Eat the rest

James Buns - Xiao Long Bao
I have to say that overall, I was not impressed with James' Buns. The skin was a little thick and overall, the buns were too big to properly fit in my mouth (pun not intended!). Now, others may have a different view of what makes a 'good XLB' but these are just my personal opinions.

Flavour-wise, the pork mince had a good flavour but I have had better and again (personal opinion) it was hard to discern the difference between the pork and prawn and pork and lobster dishes.

In addition, we were given the spicy wanton dumplings...these were tasty and had a nice mild heat. I actually preferred these more than the main item.

For those who haven't tried XLB before, I recommend having a go at James Buns. Having said that, for those of you who have tried these overseas or at Din Tai Fung, you may be a little underwhelmed. For the price, give them a go and see for yourselves.

If anyone know's of any other establishments that make XLB in Adelaide, please let us know as we would love to try them out!

James Buns on Urbanspoon


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