Jury Duty Shanghai Cuisine Xiao Long Bao Soup Dumplings

Jury Duty Shanghai Cuisine Xiao Long Bao Soup Dumplings

After watching Emeril’s show “Eat the World” – specifically, the episode with Mario Batali where they eat soup dumplings in Shanghai, China – I was keen on having some of those soup dumplings myself.  Traditionally called Xiao Long Bao, they are dumplings, usually pork, that have a bit of gelatin in the meat mixture which, when steamed, turns into broth.  So when you bite into the dumpling, you get some soup, which you can sip, or just pop the whole dumpling in your mouth, bite into it, and get a nice mouthful of hot rich broth and meat.  For my Xiao Long Bao experience, I chose Shanghai Cuisine Restaurant on Bayard Street in New York City’s Chinatown.

Why that particular restaurant?  It just happens to be a couple short blocks from the back exit from NY County’s Supreme Court, Criminal Division, which is where I went to serve jury duty.  I only had to serve for one day (yay!) and since it was the coldest day of the year so far, I didn’t want to walk too far on my lunch break.  So when I googled and found out that soup dumplings could be had so close to the courthouse, I was thrilled.

Hot and Sour Soup at Shanghai Cuisine Restaurant

I confess that I probably ordered more food than I needed.  But it felt like a special lunch, so I figured, no big deal.  You see, I got a lunch special PLUS soup dumplings.  Shanghai Cuisine (yes, that’s the name of the restaurant) offers soup dumplings with shrimp or crab, but I went with the old classic, just pork.  But before the dumplings, there was hot and sour soup – along with some cups of hot Chinese green tea, that helped to thaw me very nicely from the winter chill.

Then came the dumplings.  And they were just as good as I hoped they would be.  I tried to exercise the technique I had seen Emeril and Mario practice on the tv show – a little bite of the outer shell to access the broth, then slurp from the hole until I have gotten all the broth, then pop the rest of the dumpling in my mouth and munch.  I found that there was still broth left in the dumpling after slurping, but that may have been due to flaws in my technique.  In any case, they tasted awesome.

Shrimp with Lobster Sauce at Shanghai Cuisine Restaurant

To finish my lunch, I ordered one of my Chinese food favorites, Shrimp with Lobster Sauce.  And sure, after soup and dumplings and cups of tea, I was already pretty full, but I made an attempt.  I mixed the corn starch-thickened sauce with rice and laid some shrimps and peas over the top and had some bites.  A pretty good version of the classic dish, with fresh-tasting shrimp and slightly crunchy, sweat peas.

When the weather warms up in a few weeks, I will have to go back to Shanghai Cuisine and maybe try their crab and shrimp soup dumplings.  Perhaps I will use them as a launching point for an exploration of the soup dumplings in the neighborhood.  While our egg roll hunt of Chinatown from a couple years ago didn’t turn out so well, I have a feeling that it will not be hard to find lots of restaurants that offer this little noodle and soup ball of delight!

About Karl Peterson

Karl Peterson is an avid traveler, passionate about food and food-related entertainment, completely allergic to dairy. He is founder, owner and principle contributor to "The Dairy Free Traveler" blog. The Dairy Free Traveler perfectly dovetails two of his greatest areas of interest: traveling near and far, and searching for great cuisine (especially dairy free!) The Dairy Free Traveler publishes original material about the dairy free lifestyle, eating the best food in the most interesting destinations around the world. Karl's tours take him from thriving New York City, to exotic Marrakesh, to elegant Paris bistros -- (yes! even Parisians have gotten on the dairy free bandwagon.) The Dairy Free Traveler himself also engages with independent dairy free food producers, highlighting new dairy free product launches and events that support dairy free entrepreneurs. Peterson is among the top 7 most widely read TripAdvisor reviewers in New York City and is repeatedly cited as a Top Contributor at TripAdvisor.com. His reviews have garnered more than 542,000 readers -- half in the U.S., and half among the many countries he has visited around the world. Beyond writing this blog, Peterson is a published author, with contributions to "Savoring Gotham" edited by Andrew F. Smith (published 2015 by Oxford University) and the forthcoming Oxford Companion to Cheese (a bit ironic, yes, but a professional is often asked to stretch beyond their comfort zone!).
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