Fried Pork Dumplings
Cana Korean Restaurant is a great find in Western MA; two other local Korean restaurants recently closed and the other one I know of in the Pioneer Valley is terrible. So this is my new go-to place for Korean food, they serve a good selection of banchan and the pork Soon Du Bu I had was excellent. Cana has an extensive Korean menu, that includes Korean table BBQ, traditional Korean dishes, Korean-Chinese dishes, a large vegetarian section and a gluten free section. Cana has two dining rooms with all of the BBQ tables housed in one of the dining rooms. This is a nice feature, vegetarians and vegans can eat in the other room and not get coated in BBQ meat smoke.
Pan-fried mini-pork dumplings
Mom’s Dumpling and Noodle is a little bit of a misnomer, it only sells two varieties of dumplings and three varieties of noodles. The menu lists more rice plates that it does dumplings, and also includes kimchi, braised pork feet and braised eggs – the last of which I highly recommend. Mom’s Dumpling and Noodle, which opened in late 2014, is an offshoot of the well regarded Mom’s House Chinese Market that has been selling to-go Chinese meals and groceries for the past 15 years on Route 9.
The Dumplings: Mom’s serves pork and vegetable dumplings that are prepared either steamed or pan-fried. The pork dumplings are mini-sized, like slider dumplings, and come twelve to an order for $4.99. The pork filling was a mix of pork and scallions and the pan-fried preparation was juicy and tasty. Mom’s doesn’t provide a lot of dumpling choices but it is well worth stopping in to try the mini-pork dumplings. Continue reading
Chinese food carts
Just off Columbia University’s Morningside Heights campus you can find a string of food carts selling Chinese food. These are not hip new food trucks, but old school NYC coffee and falafel carts refurbished to sell Chinese food. They appear to cater to Columbia’s Chinese student community; there is no General Tso’s Chicken style American-Chinese food for sale here and the owners of the carts I sampled did not speak English, and I had to have one of the other customers translate for me. Each cart has a menu of about ten options, including a couple of dumpling choices. Continue reading
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.
By 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.
- 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
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.
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.
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
456 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
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”.
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
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.
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.