I have a new obsession- they come in these little bite-size sacks, filled with pork, crab and a touch of soup. Xiao long bao, aka XLB, soup dumplings!!! In NYC, I loved the dumplings at Shanghai Cafe, and have finally found a place that are just as good. Actually, they are BETTER.
I haven't been to Taiwan or Shanghai to try these in their homebase, but I just know that these little guys at Shanghai Dumpling in Saratoga are the real deal. I am drooling right now just thinking about them- I crave them all the time!!!
Each order comes with six dumplings- get an entire order to yourself, trust me, you don't want to share these. I've mastered the art of eating the soup dumpling, let me tell you about it.
1) Pick up one dumpling with your chopsticks, and lay it on your spoon. Drizzle a bit of the soy/vinegar/ginger medley over the dumpling.
2) When you poke the dumpling, hot steam spurts out and the sweet scent of meat and onions fill the air. Mmmm... But don't poke it too much, or the soup will spill all over the place, which is so not cool. The soup is too delicious to waste.
Put your lips up to the spoon and begin to sip the soup slowly. Watch out, it's HOT!
Look at all the real crab in here!!!
I tried all these places in NYC for soup dumplings, and found that more often than not, the crab got all dried up which really fucked everything up!!! Here, the crab is so moist, which makes the entire dumpling eating experience sensational. I hate to say this but... *swoon*.
This cute girl with braids makes the dumplings in plain view in the corner of the restaurant.
I've been to Shanghai Dumpling a few times now, and every time, the food has always been excellent. Here are some other stellar dishes that I always make sure to order.
Shanghai style stir-fried noodles:
Shanghai sauteed shrimp. These are simply incredible- I think they par-boil the shrimp, then stir fry them for a bit with some corn starch or something. Whatever they do it's just amazing. They are just these transluscent, light pink jewels dotted with scallions. Oh, the colors, oh the flavor!
Glutinous rice with pork in bamboo:
What could this be?? Long strips of bamboo shoots! GENIUS! The crunch is awesome!!!
The braised pork belly- umami porn shot! Look at all the nasty dots of grease! Love it.
Pea shoots with garlic.
12172 Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road