I went on a two-day splurge of Soup Dumplings (aka Steamed Juicy Buns, aka Steamed Tiny Buns, aka Xiaolong bao). These are the dumplings that have broth built-in and squirt all over if you don’t know how to eat it correctly. I was performing in my friend, Shonali’s play nearby Chinatown. So I figured I’d go for some. Then some turned into six orders at six different restaurants. All coincidentally had “Shanghai” in their names.
Shanghai Cuisine (89 Bayard St. New York, NY 10013). This place is nice on a nice day, because they have outdoor seating and a full bar with Chinese-American style tiki cocktails. The soup dumplings had thicker tougher skin, which I don’t think is ideal, but good anyway.
Shanghai Cafe Deluxe (100 Mott St. New York, NY 10013). These might have been my favorite dumplings. The skin was light and just right. Everyone there ordered these Steamed Tiny Buns. Only thing though is the lighting in the restaurant is all neon pink. Makes the food look weird and kind of gives me a headache, just like I used to get every time I went to EPCOT center.
Shanghai Asian Manor (21 Mott St. New York, NY 10013). The menu asked me to Challenge My Senses with Black Truffle Soup Dumplings. $12 for an order. That’s pricey compared to the $5 order of regular pork soup dumplings I’ve been getting. I figure it was YOLO, so got them. They were good, but not sure if they were worth $12 compared to $5 non-truffled. They seemed pretty similar to the other pork soup dumplings I was eating earlier, but maybe a little more rich.
Shanghai Asian Cuisine (14A Elizabeth St. New York, NY 10013). Day 2 of Soup Dumplings. Came here and then realized this was the newer sister restaurant of Shanghai Asian Manor I got the Black Truffle Soup Dumplings at. They also asked me to Challenge My Senses with Black Truffle Soup Dumplings on the menu. For some reason, this place is about a dollar more on many of their menu items than their sister restaurant. Maybe because it’s newer. I wasn’t sure if the Black Truffle Soup Dumplings were worth it at $12, so I got the $6.70 regular pork dumplings. The dumpling overall was good, but the filling was a little chalky. Not quite as rich tasting as the Black Truffle ones. So maybe they are worth if you are rich. They must love truffle. They have Ice Cream Truffles. Probably a different type of truffle.
Shanghai Gourmet (23 Pell St. New York, NY 10013). I’ve been here before to get the eel dish. The skin on these dumplings are more thick and tough, but still good. Dude, Soup Dumplings are good no matter how you make ’em.
Shanghai Heping Restaurant (104 Mott St. New York, NY 10013). Okay, at this point I wanted to start throwing up soup dumplings, but I know I had to keep moving forward and commit to the bit. So I found Shanghai Heping Restaurant. The whole time I thought it was called “Shanghai Helping” and I did need the help. Got the soup dumplings here $5. Pretty good overall. Now it was time to find my way home and puke soup dumplings.
Now there are a lot more restaurants in Chinatown that have “Shanghai” in their names and they all have these Shanghai Soup Dumplings. I just had to quit while I’m ahead. I would say at least one dumpling per order squirted all over me.