People have opinions about xiao long bao. And for good reason: xiao long bao (or XLB, or soup dumplings, or shoronpo as they're called in Japanese) are enchanting: semi-translucent satchels of dough encasing balls of minced pork suspended in, curiously, soup. In that magnificent way that the Chinese language has of mythologizing food they are literally "little dragon buns." Where to find the best ones is a constant subject of debate.
Xiao long bao originate in Shanghai, though you don't have to have any attachment to the city to crave them. They're also huge, for example, in New York City. In Shanghai, tourists love to line up in front of Nanxiang Mantou Dian, the city's most famous dumpling shop. Lucky Tokyo has its own branch of this storied, century-old shop, rendered in Japanese as Nansho Mantoten (Roppongi Hills Hillside 1F, 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo; 03-5413-9581; www.nansho-mantouten.com).
Tokyo's Nansho Mantoten is a little fancy, so the chefs also stuff the buns with some fancy stuff, such as abalone, fois gras or truffles, in addition to the classic pork. (My favorite is sort of fancy: pork with crab roe, or xie fen xiao long bao. Crab roe, like garlic, makes everything better). The chefs are from Shanghai — as is the roe, from those famous Shanghai hairy crabs — and you can watch them making dumplings in the window.