I made a trip to New York in September for my grandfather's 80th birthday (yup, that's a big one). Several of my friends had always raved about Joe's Shanghai steamed pork soup dumplings (xiao long bao), so I had to give it a try. To be honest, I was skeptical about being able to find really good xiao long bao in the States, having grown up eating way too many less-than-mediocre versions with thick skin, rubbery meat, and more oil than broth dripping out at first bite. Plus, doesn't Joe's Shanghai sound pretty American?
All that skepticism flew out the door because these little dumplings were the foodie highlight of my entire trip. The skin was tender and soft, and the juicy pork filling was highlighted with a touch of sweetness from some crab meat mixed in.
But the best part was the BROTH. Oh my god, it was just a perfectly seasoned, savory, slurp-worthy burst of flavor in each little pouch. Now this is how xiao long bao should taste every time!
The other items we tried were solid, but pretty forgettable compared to the dumplings. I'll just stick with the dumplings next time!
Fried onion pancake
Garlic stir-fried veggies
There are three locations in New York; I went to the Midtown one. The Chinatown location is reportedly the best, although I suspect that it's not as clean or friendly. But those dumplings are definitely worthy of all the hype.
24 W 56 Street
New York, NY 10019