Posts Tagged ‘pork dumpling’
I have lamented the lack of authentic Chinese food in Seattle. I was pleased with Chiang’s and love the consistency of Din Tai Fung but I really miss yum cha (飲茶), the traditional Cantonese lunch of dim sum (點心). I was adamant that Seattleites have to travel north to Richmond in Vancouver for variety and quality until Shirley introduced me to Jade Garden (翠苑酒家).
Regal in red, a festive cartoon dragon (龍年) denoted the Lunar New Year (農曆新年).
A school size chalkboard listed the daily specials in calligraphy (English) and scrawl (Chinese).
As with many Chinese restaurants, the interior is austere. Drab walls, plain tables, sturdy chairs, chipped china and Lazy Susans are the standard! Jade Garden is a labyrinth of dining rooms. When I was directed to our table at the back I thought I had to walk through the kitchen!
A card was stamped to record orders from the carts.
The condiments (醬油) tray consisted of salt and pepper shakers, soy and vinegar bottles, and a mysterious stainless steel container.
Shirley explained that it’s the homemade chilli sauce (辣椒醬) which was a well blended paste.
Stacked high with steaming bamboo baskets, ladies (and it’s always ladies) wheeled carts to hawk their dumplings. First were pork and prawn dumplings (燒賣). Minced pork, prawn and shiitake mushroom (冬菇) are lumped in a thin wrapper and dotted with roe. These were a tender version of the meaty morsels.
The other classic was prawn dumplings (蝦餃). Translucent and pleated, the starchy wrapper encased chunks of succulent prawns. The skin was a little thick and I doused these in the homemade chilli sauce.
These beige blobs were deceptive in appearance. We happily slurped the fragrant broth of the soup dumplings (小籠包).
Tinged with green, the prawn and chive dumplings are a variation of prawn dumplings.
Similarly, the prawn and crab dumplings had mounds of shredded crab on top of the wrappers.
Fried food was next. These awkward objects were taro dumplings (芋角). The puffed taro outer shell was crispy, crumbling at each bite, contrasting with the porky texture inside.
Golden and football shaped, these mochi like dumplings (鹹水角) had a glutinous, sticky coating. Its sweetness contrasted with the salty filling.
The final savoury selection was stir-fried noodles (炒麵). Curly thin noodles were tossed with bean sprouts and chives, a homely vegetarian dish.
Rolled in sesame seeds, these mochi balls with lotus seed paste (蓮蓉煎堆) were nutty and chewy.
And finally my favourite Chinese dessert, custard tarts (蛋撻). Traditionally baked in a flaky crust with an intense, creamy set custard, these are best savoured fresh from the oven.
The more the merrier for yum cha!
A brightly lit room was full of diners. In the back corner was a window into the kitchen where a chef kneaded dough, and stretched, cut and shaved noodles with much concentration and solemnity.
We ordered two dishes to share. First was pork pan fried dumplings (猪肉水煎包). Huddled together with golden crisp bottoms, these dense morsels were juicy, meaty and well seasoned. A dozen of these were too much for the four of us at the end of a day of eating and we were happy to pack the remainder in a container to savour the next day.
The second plate was hand shaved noodles with lamb flavoured with cumin (孜然口味炒羊肉手拉面). This was symphony on a plate. It was stir-fried with wok breath (鑊氣), the handmade noodles tangled with a mass of bean sprouts, studded with broccoli florets and strips of tender lamb were pungent with cumin. It was hearty comfort food.
A delicious yum cha (飲茶) lunch at Vivacity (名都) whetted our Dim-sum-couver (點心哥華) appetite. On the next block was Kam Do Bakery (金都餐廳餅店). A delectable selection of pastries and buns were displayed in glass cabinets. There were golden pastries filled with red bean, green bean, lotus seed, taro and date pastes. We each bought a paper tray to take home. Mine had their speciality, wife cake (老婆餅), and my favourite, pineapple bun with custard cream (菠蘿奶黃包).
Flat and round, wife cake is a traditional Chinese pastry filled with winter melon and almond paste. The disc was flaky and the glutinous winter melon and almond blend was mellow. Pineapple in appearance and not in flavour, the crumbly crust was the highlight of the pineapple bun with custard cream.
Sadly the third place on our schedule was closed on Wednesdays. The photo menu at HK BBQ Master (明家燒臘專家) enticed us to return at the next Dim-sum-couver for their Chinese barbecued meats.
We were at No. 1 Shanghai Cuisine for their bao (包). We shared a serving each of xiao long bao (小籠包) and sheng jian bao (生煎包).
Steamed in a bamboo basket were six pleated xiao long bao or ’soup dumplings’. Dipped in black rice vinegar, I nibbled the top off the delicate parcel to release steam and carefully slurped the broth. The wrapping was a little thick but the pork mince was well seasoned in a pool of intense liquid. We ate these in silent appreciation.
Five large sheng jian bao or pan fried buns were sprinkled with black sesame and shallots. The seared bottom was crispy and these were doughy versions of the xiao long bao. The juicy bun squirted with each bite!
The Shanghai (上海) dumplings were warming and soothing on a wintry day.