To the fan(s) and reader(s) of CP I’m sorry I’ve been a naughty nelly about updating. But really who am I kidding my mom is my only reader…is the hackneyed joke I would be making if she knew how to use a computer or learned how to spell ‘Paradise’.
Welcome to the awfully popular Joe’s Shanghai tucked away in what look’s like ‘little chinatown’.
Yes, yes the soup dumplings. For our viewers at home, soup dumpling aka Xiao Long Bao 小笼包 – meaning little dragon buns are delicate dumplings with a meat filling, traditionally pork or with crab meat, that contains a delicate little slurp of broth within the dumpling itself.
Delectable and Deceptively Dangerous.
The brothy soup within the freshly steamed dumplings are FRIGGIN-SNAP-CRACKLE-MOTHERPOPPING HOT!
HOW TO SUCK A DUMPLING. Y’all can interpret that however you see fit but that’s between you and your concubine.
In NY Chinatown Joe’s Shanghai dumplings have the best skin / wrapper. Thin and almost translucent the skin is delicate, strong but not overly chewy. This is best shown at the very tip of the bun where the closing twist is; usually this is where inferior dumplings would be thick and doughy. Here it gently unfolds in your mouth as easily as the rest of the bun. Absolutely, absolutely add a little black vinegar and ginger to the dumpling as it cuts the fat of the pork and brings the whole dish to another tasty level.
There is much debate between whether pork or pork with crab meat is the superior dumpling. Personally, I prefer the latter as the crab meat not only adds another level of texture but also, what my bi-lingual translation of ‘seen mei’ can only describe as, the crispness of seafood.
Beyond the dumplings I highly recommend the Beef Noodle Soup (Sorry, I wish I could recall the proper english translation. You can just pull up the below picture for your waiter if you take my advice on this next bit! )
The beef is rich and tender, braised separately and only added to the hot brothy dish moments before serving so that the beef retains its structure and flavor and the soup is not overpowered by the spices in the meat. Simple. Minimalist. A truly authentic Chinese dish.
For the more adventurous spice lovers please do try the Zhajiangmian 炸酱面, literally “fried sauce noodles”. It is seasoned with a mixture of ground pork bean curd and stir-fried with zhajiang 炸酱 which is salty fermented soy paste. The flavor is very un-american but interesting and palatable to even the most xenophobic. For about $8, why not give it a try?
By the by, this is NOT the dumpling house in Chinatown where I had lunch across from Tyra Banks…that post is coming up later.
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