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The Shanghai Soup Dumpling Index

The Shanghai Soup Dumpling Index is a scientific investigation into the quality of soup dumplings in Shanghai. It applies a quantitative framework to the existing qualitative descriptors of the Shanghai soup dumpling (hereafter referred to as “xiao long bao”): thin skin, plentiful soup, abundant filling, fresh meat (皮博 汁多 馅大 肉鲜). A total of 52 restaurants were sampled for this index between December 2013 and October 2014 in Shanghai, People’s Republic of China.

The Index is comprised of two A3-size (11"x17") PDF documents: a Visual Index, which presents the results as an infographic, and the Full Index, which includes a full methodology of the process, a quantitative analysis of the effect of time post-steaming on a dumpling, a list of all restaurants sampled (including directional information for all 18 Class A and Class B restaurants) and more. Together, the Shanghai Soup Dumpling Index can serve as both a guide for where to well-engineered soup dumplings in Shanghai and a comprehensive assessment of such establishments in the city.


Four measurements were collected: the weight of the intact dumpling (g); the weight of the soup (g); the weight of the filling (g); and the thickness of the skin (mm). This data was then calculated with the formula [(Filling + Soup / Thickness of Skin)*100] to assign a score representing the quality of structural engineering, the major challenge in the construction of a xiao long bao that meets the colloquial standards.

AUTHOR: Christopher St. Cavish // DESIGNER: Ailadi Cortelletti

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  • Includes the Visual and Full Index, two (2) files. Full data set available upon request.
  • Created by: Christopher St. Cavish & Ailadi Cortelletti


The Shanghai Soup Dumpling Index

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