Even though Chinese is not a easy language to learn, I speak food. Therefore it wasn’t difficult for me to pronounce: Xiao Long Bao, which means: little basket dumpling or soup dumplings.
As you could see from my last food post, I am crazy about noodles. Actually I am crazy about any kind of pasta: Gluten free, quinoa, wheat, egg, rice you name it.
When I friend of mine told me about a restaurant that made fresh dumplings, I was quite eager to go there and try. That restaurant was Din Tai Fung.
I ate there on my second day here in Shanghai, and obviously it was love at first bite.
After that, every time I walked down the street and saw dumplings, I felt a need to try them, but since I don’t speak Chinese (yet), I thought it would be safer to first do an online research. I found out that there is a xiaolongbao index: A website that sells a list of the most perfect ( proportion wise: thin skin, fresh meat, abundant filling) soup dumplings.So I decided to try the first one on their list: Zu ke lai.
Zu Ke Lai, is a very local place, which mean that they don’t speak english there.
Because of that, I downloaded an app ( waygo) that can translate written Chinese, Korean and Japanese to english to help me order delicious food in non touristy places.
Before sitting at the table you have to go to the cashier, place the order and pay for it, and since was my first time using the app, and I don’t know what made me more nervous: The Chinese lady looking at my clueless self, my hungry husband or my excitement of being in a strange environment.
I ordered two things a rice shrimp dumpling and pork dumplings. Actually what I though it was pork dumplings. When we finally sat on the table with our number, I looked at the menu again with my app, and realized I had just ordered, and PAID for CHICKEN FEET, yes chicken feet, and I don’t even eat poultry ( which made me laugh). Of course neither me or my husband touched that, we both lacked courage. On the other hand the shrimp dumplings were delicious, but four dumplings wasn’t going to start filling our bellies.
After those discoveries, I went back to the register and asked for pork dumplings. I wish it was easy like that.I Actually googled the word pork and the word dumpling and showed it to the lady, and she nodded what I understood as a yes. I waited anxiously for the food, and that time it wasn’t chicken feet lol.
It was a very yummy basket full of very hot, juicy pork dumplings. The dumplings skin was so thin, and the filling, juice proportion was just perfect.
Flavor wise I still prefer Din Tai Fung, but it was a delicious lunch, and a super fun experience.