Well, readers, it was a random Thursday and for whatever reason I was really in the mood for some soup dumplings. I hadn’t had them for about six months at Shanghai Tide in Flushing, the last time I did a appetizer crawl on the International Express (aka 7 line). The first time I ever tasted soup dumplings was at Joe’s Shanghai, the most famous place for these Shanghainese treats with restaurants around the city. I was interested in trying something besides Joe’s, so I googled “soup dumplings midtown” or something of that nature. John’s Shanghai (46th btw 6+7th) appeared high on the list. And, the place had just appeared in the our Lunch Links as having some great “fried tiny buns” according to the blog Food In Mouth. I thought perhaps dumplings might be their thing.
If you’ve never tried soup dumplings, or Xiaolongbao, it’s a very interesting experience. The pork (or I’ve also seen crab and pork) filled dumpling is also filled with a flavorful “soup.” You place the dumpling in a soup spoon, cover it with a vinegar-ginger sauce, bite into it, let the soup run from the dumpling into your spoon, and finally slurp and gobble. How in the world do they get the soup into the dumpling? At first I thought they must inject it, but I found out that they wrap aspic (kind of like meat jello) in with the pork and it melts during the steaming process. They’re always moist because of the soup and ground meat, and the sauce really gives them the extra yum factor. I couldn’t wait to get some in my belly. So, without further ado, I bravely marched toward Times Square; John’s is located in that general area.
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