Soup Dumplings (小龍包)

Reading a posting on two soup dumpling places in Flushing, I couldn’t ignore my urges to go and check these dumplings out for myself. So, after going to M.Night Shyamalan’s casting call in Flushing Town Hall, off I went to explore the two dumpling shops, Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao and Shanghai Tide.

Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao

Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao

Supposedly, this is one of the best soup dumplings in Flushing.  The size of dumplings are larger than the usual.  Because of this larger than the standard size, more soup is included in the dumpling and the higher risk of burning your tongue. Abundance of soup makes this dumpling very special.

Another reason that this dumpling stands out compared to other ones is because of it’s dipping sauce.  Usually, Chinese black rice vinegar is used as the dipping sauce for soup dumplings.  Here, the color of the sauce is a bit lighter than the black rice vinegar and also it’s sweeter.  You can tell that something is mixed into the vinegar.  One unfortunate thing about their dumpling was that I slightly tasted instant soup-ish flavor from the soup.  Very slight but reminded me of a ready-made cubic soup broth flavor. I felt a dash of western-ish flavoring which is foreign from Chinese flavors I’m familiar with (but I’m Japanese, who grew up eating authentic Chinese food prepared by my Chinese Friend’s family, so could be wrong).

As mentioned in some of the comments on the Serious Eats’ article the skin of the dumpling was a bit too thick for my liking.  Their price is also higher than the average Xiao Long Bao.  $ 5.25 for six pieces where most places charge under $5 for 8 pieces for the standard pork Xiao Long Bao (one without the crab meat.  I always test the pork version to compare and evaluate the soup flavors).  I’ll give 3.5 out of 5 stars for this dumpling.

Shanghai Tide

Shanghai Tide

When I walked into the shop, I thought I must have came to a wrong place.  It was almost empty and most customers were eating hot pots and not soup dumplings.  That’s a bad sign.  Oh, am I doomed?

Contrary to my observation, their dumpling was quite descent.

Dipping sauce was what you would expect;  100% Chinese black rice vinegar with thinly sliced chopped ginger.  Very dark unclear color.  Sizes of dumplings are standard.  Skin could be thinner but not as thick as the dumplings at Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao.  The soup tasted authentic Chinese (that I know of).  It was tasty and far better than I had anticipated but was not exceptional.  Sad thing was their Chinese cabbage.  When you steam the soup dumplings you put the Chinese cabbage onto the steamer to avoid the dumplings from sticking to the steamer.  Some find pleasure in eating this cabbage while enjoying the dumplings.  It’s not an official or formal way of eating the soup dumplings but you can see many customers doing this.  Some of the Chinese cabbage on my steamer was old, dry, and discolored.  Rather unappetizing.  I like having the healthy clean looking Chinese cabbage.  The price was $4.95, standard price.  I give 3.5 out of 5 stars for their dumpling, too.

I haven’t found any soup dumplings that I would give more than 3.5 stars, yet.  I hope to explore as many soup dumpling shops as I can.

Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao
38-12 Prince Street
Flushing, NY 11354
718-321-3838

Shanghai Tide
13520 40th Rd
Flushing, NY 11354
(718) 661-0900

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