Little Dragon Dumplings

28 Sep

Food to foodies isn’t just nourishment to support their bodies. They’re relationship with food is more exciting, like the bold tastes and mouth-watering smells bring. Extreme foodies like Count G and the members of his Gourmet club spent every moment thinking of food, and they devote their lives towards discovering new, more complex flavors. Perhaps that’s why Chinese food is so alluring to foodies – the sheer number of different dishes is mind-boggling… almost magical.

One of my favorite memories involving Chinese food began on a hot summer day in Shanghai. It’s a city famous for one particular food called Shiao Long Bao, or “Little Dragon Dumplings,” and my family and I were on the hunt for the best in town. After navigating through a maze of smaller streets in the older portion of Shanghai, we arrived at a small restaurant packed with customers; a sure sign we were at the right place.

The aroma of pork and fresh crabmeat struck us as we opened the door, but this amazing sensation was only a clue of what was to come. Just a few minutes after ordering, the waitress brought out the bamboo steamers filled with dumplings. It became clear why these were the best – everything was perfect. The soup inside each dumpling was incredibly rich and not at all greasy, a clear indication that it had been cooked down for many days and strained to remove any impurities. The blend of ground pork and crabmeat was just right, allowing the two ingredients to play off one another in equal balance. And the wrappers were rolled so thinly and delicately to package everything up without overpowering any of the flavors.

This sheer attention to detail made these dumplings more than food. Each one was a little bit of heaven, a little bit of perfection, and something that carried us away from the sweltering weather and towards ecstasy.

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