Monday, April 6, 2009

Soup Dumplings - Joe's Shanghai

If you've never drank pork fat before, you ought to try. Before soup dumplings, the closest I'd had was ramen with pork belly in Japan, where the fat melts into the spicy broth for a sublime, rich treat. Then I watched Anthony Bourdain go to Shanghai for street food, and he had soup dumplings. They looked like little pillows of paradise, full of pork and enlightenment.
So when I asked my co-worker "the Oracle" about them, since he hails from Shanghai by way of Mississippi. And he told me to try Joe's Shanghai, where I could get these Shanghai specialties in the States. I wasted no time, and we tried their uptown location.
The dumplings come in two flavors- pork or crabmeat. You eat them by biting or cutting a tiny slit in the dumpling skin so the delicious rich broth can fill the spoon. Then you sip it, and devour the dumpling whole. They can be a meal in themselves, but Joe's Shanghai has plenty more to offer.
Their hot & sour soup is some of the best I've had- spicy and flavorful, with lots of shrimp, mushrooms and tofu. None of the greasiness you get with typical take-out soup, this was fantastic.
We ended up taking the entrees home because the dumplings are so filling, but the Shanghai fried noodles with pork is quite delicious, and the General Tso's chicken was some of the best I've tasted as well.
There are plenty of great Chinese restaurants in Chinatown- Hop Kee, Hunan Garden, and the dim sum joint in the basement on Mott & Mosco- but in the theater district this is the place to go.

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