If you've been in NYC lately, you've noticed that it's bitter cold these days. Some foods were just made to be eaten when it's cold out. The food I'm writing about today is soup dumplings or xiao long bao. Just, little doughy steamed dumplings with rich broth and meat inside. Sometimes you may burn your mouth but it's all worth the risk. The deliciousness inside is unparalleled. On this cold, cold night, Mr. M&P and I went out to John's Shanghai. It's not the best Shanghai restaurant in the city but it's definitely the closest to me. Location, location, location!
Once inside the warm restaurant, we peered through the menu. They offered quite a large array of items. However, we knew we only wanted one thing: soup dumplings. So we ordered regular pork dumplings ($8), crab and pork dumplings ($9), and pan fried pork dumplings ($8). As you can see below, the soup dumplings come 8 to an order. They come steaming hot with a layer of cabbage on the bottom. This helps prevent sticking. They give you a pair of tongs to pick the dumplings up. However, if you're chopstick skilled like me, you don't need those. Challenge each other to see who will pop one of their dumplings first. Like I said, I'm chopstick skilled.
You can the dumpling any way that you prefer. But this is how I do it: pick it up, then lightly dip into the black vinegar. Then onto the spoon being held in my left hand. Using the chopsticks, I slightly tilt the dumpling up to my mouth. I take a nibble of the skin. Some steam comes out. Then I suck some of the soup out. It's not really soup. It's more of a rich, pork broth. Then I pop the whole thing in my mouth. The meat, the broth, and the slightly chewy skin is heavenly. So rich. So delicious.
Oh and if you're wondering how they make those delicious soup dumplings? Go to the restaurant. There's almost always a woman making them in the front window. Look at the meat filling. See something strange in it? Yes, that gelatinous rich broth. Genius! Pure genius!
144 W 46th St # 1
New York, NY 10036