Din Tai Fung, Beijing
Newbies are easily spotted when it comes to xiaolong bao buns: Just look for the telltale shirt stains from the soup-filled dumplings, which tend to explode when bitten into. The Din Tai Fung brand, started in 1972, was called “One of the Top 10 Gourmet Restaurants in the World” by the New York Times in 1993. There are at least 18 folds in these dumplings, and the inside is crammed with crabmeat, seafood, or pork. Some flavors are seasonal, but the crab roe dumplings—with roe from Yangchenghu Lake—are available all year.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.