Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2012 May 16 • Wednesday

That's a picture of a Shanghai restaurant in Flushing. It's called Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao and Dexter and I have been going there every week or two for over a year.

Xiaolongbao is what we call soup dumplings, though they're identified on the menu here as steamed pork buns. Nanxiang is apparently a suburb of Shanghai where xiaolongbao were invented. So if you've got a restaurant called Nan Xian Xiao Long Bao (Nanxiang xiaolongbao), you can guess what they want to be known for.

The soup dumplings there are among the best food I've ever had in my life. I crave them. I would want them as part of my last meal.

(Dexter and I went to Joe's Shanghai in Manhattan Chinatown to try their soup dumplings and we found Joe's Shanghai to be pathetic in comparison. I never want to go there again.)

Dexter's dish of choice is the Shanghai Stir-Fried Udon, which is also delicious.

It is, as you can see, stir-fried udon, with pork and bok choy. I eat all the bok choy since Dexter won't eat anything green. You can also get a version of this dish with seafood instead of pork.

Sometimes just an order of the steamed pork buns is enough for me, but I often get Crispy Noodles with Shredded Chicken.

This dish tastes best to me with some hot chili paste added. The noodles appear to start raw and get cooked by the chicken, mushrooms and cabbage on top. It's too hot for me to eat when it first arrives and by the time I'm getting into it, the noodles have begun to soften.

This is one of the perfect meals you can have in New York City. The total for these three dishes is about $21.