Last week, our Professor (yes, you Scheckel) was complaining about not having places to eat around our campus. So, I’m here to answer your problem! I’m not sure if you’ve been here before, as it is quite famous, but this post will be about Joe’s Shanghai. Joe’s Shanghai is famous for its pork and crab soup dumplings or xiao long bao. They have other traditional Chinese dishes but I would skip them, to be honest. The other dishes they offer are good but not the best. However, if you have to have something other than their dumplings, I recommend their crispy prawns in meat sauce. I haven’t had this at their Midtown location, so I can’t verify that the recipe used is the same, but if you like sweet, spicy sauces then this dish is for you. Moving on, they have three locations, Flushing, Chinatown and Midtown. Again, I do prefer the recipe used in their Flushing location, but their location in Midtown (56th St. bet.5th and 6th Ave.) is pretty good. If you’ve never had soup dumplings, think of wontons in reverse. They are dumplings which have a thick, broth inside them. In my opinion, there are two kinds of soup dumpling people. There are the ones who like thick, rich broth inside their dumplings or the ones who like a thinner, clearer broth inside. I personally like the fatty broth inside Joe’s, which is why I choose them over other famous soup dumpling restaurants.
There is a special way to eat these dumplings.
First, you pick one up with your chopsticks and nibble a tiny hole in the corner.
Then, you tip over the dumpling and let out all the contents into your soup spoon.
Lastly, you add some ginger vinegar to your dumpling and optionally, some chili oil. Drink the soup and take a bit out of that dumpling!
A few more quick tips:
- They do not always give you chili oil, you have to ask for it. Also, sometimes, the midtown location will give you chili, garlic oil. That is NOT, i repeat, NOT the same thing as regular chili oil.
- Try to eat your dumplings relatively fast. They aren’t quite as good when cold.
- They don’t advertise this, but you can buy their dumplings frozen. If you live far from these locations, you can simply buy them frozen and cook them at home.
- Also, be gentle when you pick them up. The good xia long bao restaurants will pride themselves on having thin skins on their dumplings, this makes them extremely delicate.
Now, go out there and enjoy!