Tag Archives: chinese food

XLB Obsession

My fellow dumpling seekers, Kristen and Andrew

Little XLB beauties

I crave certain foods. Like really crave it. And once I get it in my head, all other meals are meaningless. That’s a very bold statement but I’m known to make an exaggeration here and there. Great storytelling runs in my family and my grandpa did and mother still does add on some mild embellishments every time a story gets told. Anyway, Andrew planted the seed in my head a few weeks ago, and I’ve had buns on the brain ever since. We made plans to grab lunch this past Saturday and he, his girlfriend Kristen, and I were seated at Gourmet Dumpling House a few minutes after we arrived. We promptly ordered the pork XLB and the pork and crab XLB. And then we promptly ordered another round. The three of us ate 32 dumplings and in reality, Andrew and I ate around 13 each.

Under normal circumstances, I would be a complete wild woman and beast all over these buns. Two things stopped me and my embarrassment to eat like a truck driver in front of Andrew and Kristen is not one of them. The first is the temperature. These little suckers are filled with scalding hot liquid. They’re not dubbed soup dumplings for nothing. The second was my extremely ballsy decision to wear all white to lunch.

That being said, it should come as no surprise that there is a proper way to eat this without any spills or injuries. Please refer to the pictorial instructions below so nicely enacted by Andrew:

Andrew wins ‘Best Sport’ award

1. Get your dipping sauce ready – Chinese black vinegar with a nice heap of shredded ginger
2. Carefully pick up your dumpling with your chopsticks, taking care not to pierce the skin.
3. Dip bun in dipping sauce.
4. Nibble the side of the bun and suck the broth inside. If too hot, let the broth pour into your large soup spoon and drink once cooled.
5. Add more ginger and vinegar (optional) and eat the rest of the dumpling.

Won’t see any spilled soup on my plate!

It was my first time at Gourmet Dumpling House. I tend to shy away from the establishment because of the hefty line that accumulates on weekends. Because it has the recognizable word ‘Dumpling’ in it, I find that many non-Chinese folks gravitate here. The xiao long bao was wonderful here AND they take credit cards. If you’re prepared for wait, definitely check this place out. Otherwise, you can go just around the corner to Taiwan Cafe, which I think has equally delicious xiao long bao and a whole menu of other delicious treats. The only downer is that it’s a true Chinatown joint and is cash only. Long story short, bring your appetite and cash/patience.

Gourmet Dumpling House
52 Beach St
Boston, MA 02111
(617) 338-6223

Interesting Eats: Black Chicken

No, I’m not a llama

Yesterday, I had a home cooked meal by my mom who served up black chicken also known as a Silkie. I would sum them up as small chickens with black skin, and dark dark bones and light gray/slightly dark purple meat. It is truly unappetizing in appearance compared to a golden brown piece of fried chicken or an oven roasted chicken with crackling skin. It is common in Asian cuisines to serve it in the form of soup as it is believed to have healing properties. Anything that looks like that must be healthy.

Buzz, Your Girlfriend, Woof.

My mom boiled the chicken along with some dried mushrooms and a few slices of ginger along with some salt and soy sauce. The soup had a lot of depth, tasted healthy and nourishing. Served with some plain noodles, it certainly was plain Jane. I received a leg and thigh. The chicken was tender and similar in texture to a regular chicken, but had its own unique favor rather than taking on more of the flavors around it. I would be open to having it again and think that once you get over the appearance, black chicken will become nothing more than just that, a black colored chicken. I’ll be adding this to my interesting eating feats including chicken feet, squid ink, frog legs and jellyfish. I’m still working towards rotten shark and insects. Someday.

Chinese Celery and Dried Tofu Stir Fry

Scrambled Eggs with Shrimp and Scallions