On days that we are not bogged down by after-school activities, the munchkin and I often try to on a mini food adventure for an after-school snack. Ria is often “starving to death” when I pick her up from school and usually in a mood most foul. (Honey, why don’t you try to finish the lunch your mother so lovingly packs for you?) If I don’t have a snack ready for her (though our deal is that she has to finish her lunch first), we head off on post school food adventure.
We have been stuck in a bit of a rut going to the same old places for after school snack, often ending up with a sweet snack, though both of us prefer a savory morsel or two. The US is just not as good at savory snacks as other countries/cultures, so the recently opened Xiao Long Bao is a welcome addition to our list. They specialize in the traditional xiao long bao (soup dumplings) and a variety of other dumplings, noodle soups and scallions pancakes, which the munchkin loves.
Their dumplings are not the best we have had – the skin not thin enough as the ones at Din Tai Fung (but then NOTHING compares to the dumplings they serve), but they hit the spot. The space, unlike most others on Clement, is bright, clean, open and welcoming. They don’t put it out, but they have some pretty authentic chilli paste that you have to ask for. Looking forward to heading back and trying out their noodle soups.
I made a giant mess (squirting everywhere) eating my dumplings, much to Ria’s delight (she did better) and I could have benefited from the notes below on how to eat xiao long bao. Next time, less mess…I have it down.
How to Eat Xiao Long Bao (from Afar – The Collaborative Travel Guide)
1. Gently pick up the dumpling by using the sides of your chopsticks, not the points, so you don’t puncture the wrapper. Place it on a flat-bottomed Chinese soup spoon.
2. Using your chopsticks, top the dumpling with some ginger threads. Pour on a little vinegar from the saucer.
3. Raise the spoon to your mouth and take a tiny bite of the wrapper with your teeth, or use your chopsticks to tear a small hole. Breathe in cool air as you suck in all of the hot juice from the dumpling.
4. Eat and savor the wrapper and the meaty filling.