Happy Chinese New Year! 新年快乐！
Being born and (partially) raised in Shanghai, I can’t imagine life without the pleasures of a breakfast filled with a variety of what people here would deem street foods and small eats. To name a few, in perhaps order of favorites 😉
- 生煎包 (Pan-fried pork buns)
- 小笼包 (Pork soup dumplings)
- 小馄饨 (Mini wontons)
- 油条 (Fried dough, hah)
- 大饼 (Fried scallion pancake)
Having spent 20+ years in the states, I’ve found passable to superb options for 2 through 4, but the search for my favorite breakfast item, the elusive pan-fried pork buns continued until today. I swear it’s like trying to find a rare pokemon…you believe it doesn’t exist even though you’ve seen it once before. In the spirit of Chinese New Year (and a post gym stomach), I went for what felt like attempt #1,325,269 <- quite close to the real number I’d imagine.
After experiencing literally a pan-fried bun (fail, Canal St, fail) and a sad excuse for a filling (nice try Brooklyn), China Green Dim Sum in Manhattan’s restaurant row delivered! Juicy, savory, and didn’t need vinegar for flavor, with skin so thin that you’d think you’re eating a soup dumpling. The taste makes you not even think about the regret you might have from the pork and soup until maybe the 5th or 6th one. But by that time, you just eat the rest of the plate because you can and because they are DELICIOUS.
And to add to the amusement, my friend took a bite and squirted soup across the table. Made that mistake when I was 3 as well 😀
They even named the item on the menu next to the my personal benchmark, Yang’s Dumplings in good ol’ SH (小杨生煎). So what did I learn from this? Never give up because as long as one lives in NYC, there should be a restaurant somewhere, even if it’s next to the theatre district and further outside of Manhattan’s Chinatown and Flushing’s Chi-town, that will satisfy that homestyle craving. And….once that regret hits, it’s a-ok because gym tomorrow and it’s leg day followed by some painful yet rewarding cardio.
Looks like the original version below right???
One tradition on Chinese New Year is to eat dumplings as they resemble wealth and good fortune for the upcoming year. I’d like to relive the past once in a while and remind me that I may be far from Shanghai, but I can always find a jewel somewhere in this vast city to help make me feel close to home.