Saturday, November 15, 2008
Mmm... lunch... Yesterday night I happen to spot a thread on forums about Chinese food. Rave reviews about the usual lo mein and fried rice and dim sum along with cracking those fortune cookies and what not. Well I wanted people to know and I'm sure many do that there are tons of all these fantastic different types of Chinese food. Living in New York City has definitely offered me and many people a taste of various types of culture around the world. One of the best places to find inexpensive cuisine is between Aster Place, St. Mark's Place, SoHo, all the way to Little Italy and Chinatown. I recommend you to not stay on the beaten path and to explore the quiet neighborhoods. Trust me it won't disappoint you. There are numerous little treasures of cute out door restaurants, jazzy comfy places. There is simply not enough time for me to explain all those tiny hidden treasures. There are plenty of blogs and info about it.
BTW an awesome site that I usually go look for new places is Menupages. A site dedicated to reviews of hundreds of restaurants in NYC. Everyone uses the Zagat which personally I don't read because usually from my experience once restaurants get into the Zagat all of a sudden their prices skyrocket. Not cool. Granted many of those restaurants are awesome but sometimes a girl wants a cheap good meal.
Like any other country/nation food differs from area to area and today my mom decided to buy Shanghai Dumplings other know as xiaolongbao or little dragon buns. These tender dumplings are usually filled with pork or crab or a combination meat inside swimming in a soup like sauce. Now these are served steaming hot in a bamboo type steamer and usually in groups of 6-9.
Okay these are the tools needed to eat these so called "properly" which are chopsticks, soup spoon. The large ones that curve at the handle. Oh and also they usually have black vinegar with a bit of ginger. Personally I don't use it but my family LOVES it, oh and it has a very pungent smell too.Okay you know those wooden chopsticks they give you sometimes? Well Supposedly if you happen to break them so they're even it's some type of good luck or something. As you can see above I don't exactly have that luck today. lolol.
Okay first off these buns taper on the top use your chopsticks (there are many ways to hold one) to only grasp the top like above and once there's a successful liftoff just quickly slide the soup spoon underneath to support it. Now rotate it so one side is up and nibble a small piece. Wait for it to cool a bit and drink some of the soup.
Now enjoy the rest of meal! Now people have always wondered how do they put the soap inside the sealed dumpling? Well they freeze large drops of the soap and put it inside with the uncooked meat and seal it off. So when it steams the soap melts and the meat cooks. It's basically a little steamer inside the dumpling. The magic is all in the soap base it gives the meat the flavor and it's a well kept secret. Here are some of my favorite dumpling places.
100 Mott St, New York 10013
Btwn Canal & Hester St
( The crab and pork one is simply scrumptious and try their rice cakes which are like large slivers of noodles fried with assorted meats ) Oh yeah they don't accept credit card so be prepared with cash... their items aren't very expensive though.
9 Pell St, New York 10013
Btwn Doyers St & Bowery
(This is probably the most well known place for Shanghai dumplings and everyone knows it's not their dozens of waiters that want you to hurry up your meal to serve the next customer, its the dumplings. Their dumpling soup is simply fantastic! I really love the homey and strong flavor yet the meat is tender. There's usually a line that starts around 7:30 or 8pm so be early or be prepared to wait.)
There's also a similar dumpling house next to Joe's Shanghai but I do not like the place just due to the service. They're very bias against women or so when I last visited. The entire time I was there the waiter did not even ask me or look at me, instead he asked my friend who was a guy what he wanted and even asked him what I wanted. Hello! I'm not invisible! I can order my own stuff all by myself!
Anyways if you visit or live in NYC I always encourage you to explore the great city! You are bound to find a diamond in the rough!