Guide to Chinese Dumplings

As part of its ongoing Dumpling Month celebration Lucky Peach just published a Guide to Chinese Dumplings that provides a description and illustration of 36 different types of Chinese dumplings.  I am hungry now.

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Beyond Meat Vegan Beef with Ginger and Onion Dumplings

beyondmeat_nutritional_beyondbeef_beefyBy focusing on texture and mouth feel Beyond Meat has revolutionized the meat alternative market. I experimented with using their Beyond Beef Crumble product as the base for vegan beef dumplings. Both steamed and pan-fried version of this dumpling recipe came out well and were tasty. However, the Beefy variety of Beef Crumble that I used has a sort of south western spice flavor profile, so I didn’t get the Asian dumplings flavor experience I was hoping for.

Ingredients

  • One package Beyond Beef Beefy Crumble
  • Half an onion, chopped
  • A piece of ginger root, about an inch and a half long
  • 2 table spoons soy sauce
  • 1 table spoon sesame oil
  • 5 scallions finely chopped

Instructions

Grate all of the ginger into a bowl, being sure to include the juice and pulp. Mix thoroughly the other ingredients into the bowl with the ginger. Place a ball of the filling mixture into the center of a dumpling wrapper and fold the wrapper over the filling and crimp the wrapper closed. Repeat this process until you run out of the filling mixture;  the recipe makes about 2 dozen dumplings depending on how full you stuff your wrapper.

Steam the dumplings in a bamboo steamer or fry them up in a pan.

UPDATE:

I just tried Beyond Meat’s Beastly Sliders, which without a doubt are the best veggie burger I have ever tried, and outside of the veggie vs beef burger dichotomy, just plain make a great sandwich.   I think if the sliders or burgers were chopped up and used in the above recipe instead of the Crumble, you would get an even better vegan beef dumpling.

beastlysliders_mockup_low_res

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Mukeunji/Son Ja Jang/Conveyor belt sushi bar, New York, NY

Free desert

Free yogurt flavor drink desert

Mukeunji//Son Ja Jang/Conveyor belt sushi bar is a odd New York City multi-restaurant venue. In addition to being a traditional Korean restaurant, Mukeunji also houses Son Ja Jang, a Chinese hand-pulled noodle restaurant, and in the back, houses a conveyor belt sushi bar.  Son Ja Jang is literally a hole in one of the walls of the Mukeunji dining room through which you can see a guy hand-pulling noodles. Based on the menu Son Ja Jang appears to serve Korean-Chinese food, akin to American-Chinese food, this is Chinese food adapted for Korean tastes. They serve one of my least favorite dishes, Ja Jang Myeon, a noodle dish topped with a thick salted black bean sauce.  Lastly, as in all instances of this idea, the conveyor belt sushi bar seemed really sketchy, like a great place to buy not so fresh, room temperature raw fish.

Mukeunji starts out the meal with a half dozen appetizer plates, including an excellent cabbage kimchi. They seem to pride themselves on their kimchi, they have a large museum style set of photos and text on the wall describing the sourcing of their kimchi. At the end of the meal they give you a little plastic shot sized bottle of yogurt drink. Yum, and I mean that for real. Continue reading

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456 Shanghai Cuisine, New York, NY

image456 Shanghai Cuisine is run by the grandson of the owner of the well regarded original 456 that was located in China Town’s Chatham Square in the 1970s. Forty years later the reborn 456 is an unassuming, plate glass fronted restaurant on Mott Street just below Canal Street. Soon after it opened in 2011 the NY Times put it on the culinary map with a good overall review and a glowing recommendation for its soup dumplings. While the main menu, at least the parts of it written in English, offers mainly American-Chinese dishes, the appetizer menu includes many traditional dumplings offerings. Continue reading

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February is Dumpling Month

The media world seems to be dubbing February “Dumpling Month”.  The NY Times posted a really tasty sounding dumpling recipe for Lunar New Year and Lucky Peach is posting a series of dumpling articles.  David Cheng’s essay, “The world’s most underrated dumpling” is a spot on description of the joys of eating Shen jiang bao.  There is also a great essay from Mei Chin on the tradition of making dumplings for the Chinese New Year, and rounding out the essays posted so far, there is a really in-depth “field guide for dim sum”.

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Miss Korea BBQ, NY, NY

Kimchi Dumplings

Steamed Kimchi Dumplings

I have probably eaten at two thirds of the restaurants along Manhattan’s 32nd street Korea Town corridor and I have been trying to complete my tour, so for a recent lunch I stopped in at Miss Korea BBQ.  As its name suggests Miss Korea BBQ is mainly a Korean barbeque joint.  Each table has a hot plate grill set in the middle of the table and suspended just above each grill there is a steam-punky looking copper metal exhaust duct: at first glance it looks like each table has copper column sticking out of the center of it.  The restaurant looks like something out of the movie Brazil. Continue reading

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Chopsticks, Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos

Chopsticks is one of the few Asian restaurants on Turks and Caicos but is essentially an airport terminal food court “Wok and Roll” level Chinese restaurant. They charge a $10 delivery fee and it still took an hour to get the food, on top of that, the portions are small and expensive.

Disintegrating dumplings

Disintegrating dumplings

The Dumplings: they sell steamed pork, chicken, prawn and vegetable dumplings, although the chicken ones are listed as momos and the others are listed as dim sum. They come four to an order and run between $10 and $14 per order. The menu in the tourist dining guide that is handed out at the airport depicts what looks like soup dumplings in a bamboo steamer, but I think this is more aspirational than real.

Do not order their dumplings for delivery, by the time they got to us the wrappers had started to fall apart and had adhered themselves to the bottom of the to-go container. To eat the pork dumplings I had to resign myself to eating deconstructed dumplings; the naked pork meatball filling and chunks of thick rubbery wrapper. The vegetable dumplings were impossible to get out of the container in one piece and disintegrated into a sort of vegetable hash. The vegetable dumplings were vegan, but considering the quality, they get no points for that.

These were deeply bad dumplings

The Sauce: The dumpling sauce appeared to be soy sauce with some sesame oil floated on top. They sent me one tiny container for two orders of dumplings.

The Location: Chopsticks is located in Grace Bay on Sandcastle road near the The Seven Stars Resort, it is behind the Grace Bay Gourmet grocery store.

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Otafuku x Medetai, New York, NY

Otaku logo

Otafuku logo

Otafuku x Medetai began life as a tiny nook selling Takoyaki through a window to customers standing on the street. You would see little knots of people huddled over paper boats filled with blazing hot balls of crispy fried dough stuffed with pieces of octopus. Since then they have moved down the street to a slightly larger space with an larger industrial size Tako-pan and a standing counter that can accommodate about six people. The old spot used to make Takoyaki to order but sadly this is no longer the case at the new location.

In regards to the name, their web site says “Otafuku, the Goddess of Mirth, is our symbol not only because she looks like one awesome lady but also because she brings happinessinto people’s lives. We hope our authentic, Japanese street food will make you smile the way she does.” Takoyaki from  Otafuku x Medetai gives me a stupid grin. Continue reading

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Google is Taking Away The Tools I Use To Blog

Google_logoGoogle seems to have been making unwelcome changes to some of the tools I use to run Dumpling Hunter.  It looks like I can no longer embed RSS feeds of custom Google news searchers, so no more Google Dumpling News.  Luckily I was able to replace this with a RSS feed of Dumpling News from Bing News – thank you Microsoft.

Google also migrated its customized map tool to My Maps which lacks the ability to embed maps with customized zoom and centering.  This makes it very hard to include new restaurant location maps into my posts.  The large map of N. American Dumpling Spots still works and you can click on a restaurant in the drop down list of restaurants to help locate the place you are interested in.  The Google forums are quite agitated over this omission in the My Maps tool.  Any one know of a good alternative mapping tool I could use?

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Return to Xi’an Famous Foods, New York NY

Spicy and Sour Vegetable Dumplings

Spicy and Sour Vegetable Dumplings

Spinach Stuffing Doused with Sauce

Spinach Stuffing Doused with Sauce

Xi’an Famous Foods has seven locations in New York City, although the original spot in Flushing Queens and the spot in midtown don’t sell dumplings.  I previously tried the lamb dumplings at Xi’an Famous Foods and to balance out my meat eating tendencies I recently went back to try out their vegetable dumplings.

The Dumplings:  The fresh boiled vegetable dumplings have green spinach juice infused dough wrappers and are stuffed with a giant wad of spinach, some glass noodles and a little egg (so vegetarian, not vegan) and come topped with black and white sesame seeds and cilantro and doused with spicy and sour sauce.  These were some of the best vegetable dumplings I have tried, the spinach tasted fresh and alive and each dumpling is so packed with spinach that a serving of dumplings probably counts as your entire recommended daily intake of vegetables.  The dumplings also make an excellent delivery vehicle for Xi’an Famous Food’s great sauce.  The best way to eat these dumplings is to bite off part of the wrapper and then spoon lots of sauce onto the spinach filling.

The Dipping Sauce:  The dumplings are served with Xi’an’s secret sauce poured over them – a spicy and sour sauce that seems to include at least chili oil and vinegar and has a flavor profile that is similar to Chinese hot and sour soup.  The sauce left my lips and mouth tingling for about 15 minutes after I finished eating these dumplings.  I am not quite sure which is better the dumplings or the sauce.

The Location:  I have been going to the Xi’an Famous Foods location in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, located on Broadway between 102nd and 103rd.  Its a small spot with counter space for maybe a dozen people and a sound track of hip hop music programmed by the owner’s son.

 

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