Pork Dried Shrimp and Cabbage Dumplings
Typically Vietnamese restaurants in New York do not serve dumplings, but Saiguette serves eight styles of dumplings. Saiguette is mainly a large busy kitchen with a small service counter and six stools at a tiny counter along the window. If you eat in, you will likely find yourself partially sitting on someone else’s lap. Surprisingly for a such a tiny place, they have a full menu of Banh Mi, Pho, Bun, Banh Hoi and other Vietnamese staples, but the vast majority of their business is take-0ut. Continue reading
My friend Mike from my college days just launched a cooking blog, “SquaredMeals.com“. He writes that his blog is a “…personal log of what I and my wife cook at home for our twin daughters, Willa and Phoebe. The name refers to both a square meal and what happened when we went from a family of two to a family of four. We try to make wholesome food prepared from scratch, and then we try to get Willa and Phoebe to eat it. It doesn’t always work out, and this blog is an attempt to keep track of it all.” The first post was for Bucatini all’Amatriciana, go check it out.
Bonito Shaving Dancing on top of Hot Takoyaki. (shot at Yakitori Taisho, in NYC)
Takoyaki are balled shaped Japanese dumplings made from a wheat flour batter filled with pieces of octopus. They are served with a Worcestershire like takoyaki sauce and mayonnaise drizzled on top and sprinkles of dried seaweed flakes and shavings of dried bonito. Good Takoyaki are served dangerously hot and the convection currents of hot air coming off the Takoyaki make the thin shavings of bonito dance and wave. The first time I saw the dance of bonito shavings I was mesmerized and that was the beginning of my love affair with Takoyaki.
A street vendor in Osaka named Endo Tomekichi is credited with inventing Takoyaki in 1935. He originally sold a batter based confection called choboyaki and began experimenting with adding additional ingredients to the batter. Inspired by Akashiyaki, he added octopus to the batter and Takoyaki were born. His street snack was a huge success and he was able to open a shop called Aizuya in the Nishinari ward of Osaka City; Aizuya still operates today. Tomekichi’s original recipe included no other ingredients, toppings, or sauces, just the batter balls with octopus filling. In 2006 Osaka’s Universal Studios Japan theme park opened the Takoyaki Museum, which sounds more like a Takoyaki food court than an actual educational institution. There is a branch of Aizuya at the “Musuem” along with four other vendors selling interpretations and variations on Tomekichi’s original dish.
I grabbed these dumplings pretty much at random out of the dumpling freezer case at H-Mart on 32nd street. The ChoripDong line of foods are distributed by Seoul Trading Inc, USA which has been in business for over 30 years (previously known as Seoul Shik Poom) distributing products from Korea, China and Southeast Asia to supermarkets, grocery stores, and restaurants across the US. Recent articles suggest they distribute over 2,000 different products. A google search also shows they have had a few run ins with the FDA [here, here, here, here], mainly for undeclared ingredients that are allergens.
Steamed and Pan Fried ChoripDong Dumplings
The ChoripDong Kimchi dumplings flavored with pork are excellent. Either pan fried or steamed the dumplings came out with a really juicy, flavorful filling. The cabbage kimchi filling has a medium spicy heat and satisfying crunch, while the pork flavor still comes through the kimchi heat. These dumplings are really large and if you take them right out of the freezer bag they take a long time to steam or pan fry. I recommend giving them a quick micro-wave blast to defrost them before you steam or pan-fry them.
I recently discovered that Mandoo Bar will sell you freshly made, raw dumplings, ten to an order, to take home. The dumplings are dusted with flour which absorbs the oil during pan frying, so you will need to use a bit more oil than usual to fry them. If you can pick these up before dinner and run home and cook them up, the dumplings taste super fresh. I got the seafood and the veggie dumplings both of which tasted great fried up at home. Mandoo Bar’s veggie dumplings are vegan.
Mandoo Bar Seafood Dumplings
Mandoo Bar Veggie Dumplings
Peacefood Cafe’s Shanghai Style Dumplings
Peacefood Cafe serves vegan fair that comes very close to the border that separates tasty vegan food from bad hippie food. The Boca Burger style burger comes topped with a weirdly mashed avocado and is then piled way too high with alfalfa sprouts. The Nachos seem to have been created by someone with only a passing familiarity with the dish. On the other hand the cheese cake is excellent and the dumplings are some of the best vegan dumplings I have tried. Continue reading
Steamed Tofu Dumplings
Hangawi is a vegan Korean restaurant in midtown Manhattan. They serve a lot of creative vegan interpretations of traditional Korean dishes in a classical Korean restaurant setting – shoes are removed at the door and you sit on the floor with your legs hanging in a recessed space under the table. We tried four of the appertizers and the Ssam Bo, which is is a platter of slivered vegetables, three types of rice, a grain, and miso paste which are eaten wrapped in lettuce and sesame leaves. I thought the mushroom caps stuffed with tofu and vegetable appetizer and the Ssam Bo were both excellent, unfortunately the dumplings were not. Continue reading
I reviewed DumplingGo a couple of months ago but they have been changing up their menu recently so I decided to return and try their new offerings.
The Dumplings: for this outing I tried the Flounder Dumplings and Black Pepper Fish dumplings. Continue reading
Following on from the East Village, I have been expecting an explosion of dumpling restaurants in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood but it hasn’t really happened yet. There is an outpost of Vanessa’s and the nearby M Shanghai Bistro and Garden. While M Shanghai feels like a hipster bar thinly decorated with Shanghai style accouterments, there appears to be a crack team of Shanghai chefs in the kitchen sending out some great dishes. The menu is based on the owner’s Grandmother’s cooking and her happy memories of eating homemade dumplings with her family. Continue reading
Canteen 82 Peking Duck Bao
The co-owners of Canteen 82 hail from Malaysia and Hong Kong and the chef is from Shanghai, perhaps explaining the Asian-Fusion menu hidden behind the restaurant’s sub-title “Taste of Shanghai”. The menu includes lots of American-Chinese dishes, Sushi, cooked Japanese dishes, a few Thai options, a hand full of Shanghaiese dishes and a large selection of dumplings. They also have a decent set of vegan options.
The Dumplings: The dumplings at Canteen 82 are all in-house, home made and include Bao, Xiao Long Bao and Jiao Zhi. The web-site also has pictures of Sheng Jian and some prior articles gave these dumplings strong reviews, but they have since been removed from the menu – apparently demand was low. I tried the crab and pork Xiao Long Bao, the Peking Duck Bao and the Shangdong Dumplings. Continue reading