Ravioli, the dumplings of Italy

I was hoping that my business trip to Bolzano Northern Italy, and side trip to Venice, would include a lot of ravioli eating, but it seems ravioli are not a prominent part of Northern Italian restaurant menus. In seven days I only found two restaurants that actually had ravioli on the menu.

The first place I spotted ravioli was at Restaurant Ribot in Venice, a spot that came highly recommended to me by the hotel concierge. Overall I found the food at Ribot to be too strongly salted, but they had an incredibly rich and creamy panacotta. Their ravioli were filled with sea bream, a white flaky fish, and were sauced with celery foam. The fish stuffing was good, but the ravioli dough was too thick and chewy and the celery foam was really over salted.

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Grand Sichuan International (aka Chelsea Chinese), New York, NY

 

Wontons in Red Chili Oil

Wontons in Red Chili Oil

Its been a long while since I’ve been to Grand Sichuan International in Chelsea and I remember it being a lot better back in the day than it was last week.  One of the things I remember liking about the Grand Sichuan was that its menu had a “Traditional Chinese” section organized by region that had lots of really interesting dishes and also a section labelled “Mao’s Home Cooking”.   But food quality and service seems to have gone down hill in the years since I was there last.   Continue reading

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Nuchas Empanadas, New York NY

Nuchas Empanadas

Nuchas Empanadas

Ever since a trip to Buenos Aries I have been a big fan of Empanadas and, as I have written before, I feel that Empanadas, Pastys and Piroshkies occupy a grey area on the border of dumpling-ville.  Recently after hitting Manhattan’s Korea town for dumplings, I noticed Nuchas Artisan Hand-Held Foods in Greeley Square.  It was new to me and it turns out it has only been open for about six months now.

The Empanadas: The empanadas line up at Nuchas includes, Meat (the Argentine – ground beef, Spicy Chicken, Short rib – beef, and Jambalaya), vegetable (Portobello, Spicy Cheese, and Shiitake Curry) and sweet (Apple, Cranberry and Nutella) empanadas are available at Nuchas.  The empanadas are small, with maybe a third of a cup of filling in each one. Continue reading

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Dumpling Wars 2: The Hungry Games, San Francisco, CA

The Kearny Street Workshop is hosting its second Dumpling Wars fund raiser on April 12th at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center.  Teams of amateur chefs will battle to serve up the best dumplings with a panel of San Francisco foodies passing judgement.  Tickets are $25 at the door which buys you samples of food from local restaurants, live entertainment and the right to vote for your favorite dumpling. The Kearny Street Workshop is the oldest Asian Pacific American multidisciplinary arts organization in the country and offers classes and workshops, salons and student presentations, as well as professionally curated and produced exhibitions, performances, readings and screenings.

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Joe’s Ginger, New York NY

Joe's Ginger Soup Dumplings

Joe’s Ginger Soup Dumplings

I was in the mood for soup dumplings so I decided to check out Joe’s Shanghai in New York’s Chinatown.  But in what seems to be a re-occurring theme when I try to go to soup dumpling hot spots, Joe’s Shanghai had an hour’s wait for a table.  So instead I headed a few doors down the street to their sister restaurant, Joe’s Ginger.  Luckily Joe’s soup dumplings and a host of other dumplings are on the menu at Joe’s Ginger.

The Dumplings:  I tried the pork soup dumplings, the crab and pork soup dumplings and the shrimp and snow pea leaves boiled dumplings. Continue reading

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Huffington Post on Bao

In an attempt to “shift the spotlight onto another Asian carb experience: the baozi…” The Huffington Post just posted “10 Reasons The Bao Is The Best Sandwich You’ve Never Tried“.  The posting is a typical “listicle” with little written content but a lot of mouth watering photos of bao.  They give a shout out to Wow Bao in Chicago, which I rated as “meh”.

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Pão de Queijo, Brazilian Cheese Buns

Photo Mar 19, 6 18 15 AM

Pão de queijo

I recently did a business trip to Rio and had hoped to find dumpling restaurants to report back on, but the trip turned out to be too hectic to do much Dumpling Hunting.  One of the dumpling-esque things I did eat a lot of were pão de queijo, which are small cheese stuffed baked buns.  These delicious buns are similar to small Bao, but use cassava flour and require no leavening.  The hotel I stayed at served them for breakfast every morning and they could also be bought from street vendors and coffee/snack shops all over Rio.  Pão de queijo are also popular in Japan, having been brought to Japan by the migration of Brazilian born ethnic Japanese who have immigrated to Japan.  In Japan they are made with rice flour rather than cassava.

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House of Xian Dumplings, San Francisco, CA

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Making pot stickers at House of Xian

House of Xian Dumplings has a great selection of house made boiled dumplings, there is a guy continuously making pot sticker dumplings at a dumpling station at the side of the dining room and another chef in the back kitchen making the dumplings for boiling.  The city of Xian is in China’s central-northwest region and is the starting point of the Silk Road and home to the Terracotta Army statutes. Historically, Xian has had a large Muslim population which influenced the local cuisine, so lamb and beef dishes are more prominent in Xian cuisine than in Eastern cities. Continue reading

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Fang Restaurant, San Francisco, CA

Soup Dumpling in the serving spoons

Soup Dumpling in the serving spoons

I ended up going to Fang Restaurant because it was close to the Cartoon Art Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, but it turns out this is not a good enough reason to go to this restaurant.  Fang is in the SOMA district which is home to a lot technology companies, as a result there were fair number of tech guys wearing executive hoodies, loudly talking shop.  I learned that being a direct report to founders of start-ups is no fun and there was a lot of gossip about which founding partners will be forced out of various tech companies during the next round of investments.  On the plus side Fang has a full bar. Continue reading

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Bund Shanghai Restaurant, San Francisco, CA

Boiled Shrimp and Chive Dumplings

Boiled Shrimp and Chive Dumplings

The Bund Shanghai Restaurant in San Francisco’s old Chinatown is named after the old colonial business district along the Huangpu River in Shanghai.  It gets good reviews online and so it was the first place I tried during my visit.  Like a lot of restaurants in Shanghai the Bund provides a bowl of small crunchy peanuts as a free appetizer. Continue reading

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