This post is dedicated to my friends miss Dewi (aka Debon) and miss Yuli, who introduced me to Joe’s Shanghai a few years ago. I don’t remember when exactly, but I remember that it was a glorious pork-broth-y beautiful day.
Gentlewomen and gentlemen, I am so proud to be able to share with you this magical experience. I think I started this blog solely for this moment. If you’ve been there already, we are now soup sisters. Or soup siblings, if you’re one of those unlucky ones who have been born a man. Boo. If you have never been there, fasten err loosen your seat belt, and let’s go!
Remember last Sunday? One of the most beautiful days we’ve had yet? It was sunny, warm, and golly god it was not humid. Perfect day for soup dumplings!
I met up with Val on the F train. Logan had to take the train alone, because she lives by the suckiest line ever, the R line.
This is Valerie, my ay-ta-lian goddess:
Man she’s cute. I know, I have such good looking friends.
We are one sexy bunch. Oh yeah.
Speaking of sexy, this is one who isn’t:
That was a good hair day for me! Did I mention that it wasn’t humid?
Man I love it when it’s not humid.
When it’s humid, my hair looks like this. I. am. not. kidding. Ask any of my friends. It’s scary.
Anyways, the F train decided to crap out on us and all of a sudden decided to run on the A line. That bastard train! Do you know that the F is one of the worst lines in New York City? Seriously, bastard train.
At this point, Logan has been waiting for a half hour in crazy Chinatown and she wasn’t having it. She was p.i.s.s.e.d.
We finally made it there, and she was sitting there on the little ledge/half-wall thing like a lost child.
Her legs are like thirty feet long. Craziness.
Behold, JOE’S SHANGHAI!
Oh my god.
Oh my god.
I. was. so. excited.
Mind you, I go here pretty much every Sunday, but every single time it was like the first time. Just like every time I see 300. Man, that is one sexy movie.
It was packed. As always. Every single chair is taken and there was at least twenty people waiting outside. This my friends, is a very good sign.
Here’s Val reading (more like making fun of) the Brooklyn quiz in the new issue of the L mag.
Girlie is born and raised Brooklyn, baby! She is the real Brooklynite.
They sat us at one of those massive round tables.
Hello, strangers, how are you? You’re here for the dumplings? Yes, us too. Let’s just completely ignore each other while we stuff our faces and only have awkward eye contact when we accidentally touch hands reaching for the one communal chili sauce jar. Sounds good? Definitely.
Logan was talking to Val and ignoring me, because she was mad that we were late. She decided to take it out on me, even though it was clearly the fault of the MTA.
By the way, the lighting is crazy weird up in therrrr. All my pictures have a yellow tint.
(I’m just making excuses for my poor photography skillz. I try, I really do.)
We ordered the crab and pork soup dumplings (you can get them without the crab if you want, but only if you’re seriously deranged. the crab is amazing and you can’t really taste ‘em all that much really, but mixed with the pork, it’s a masterpiece. WHOAH).
We also ordered a plate of kangkungs. That’s water spinach for you anglos. The kangkungs are quickly stir-fried (in a wok obvi) with thinly sliced garlic. It’s very simple and very commonly Chinese. Delicious. You’ll see.
And we also got an order of pan-fried noodles with chicken.
While we wait for our grub, I had a cup of tea. Chinese tea is VERY good for you. My mama always say that it’s good to drink it before and after a meal, because the tea breaks down the fat. I’m not really sure if that’s true, but we Chinese (I’m Chinese Indonesian btw) eat a LOT and we’re relatively thin, so I’m assuming it’s the tea. Wow that was a bunch of racist-ness in one sentence, but it’s not racist, because one I am Chinese and two it’s really a compliment. Please don’t hate me.
Yes, that is an action shot.
Please don’t ask for sugar. Putting sugar in Chinese tea is wrong. I will smack you in the head with a giant sugar cube I swear.
After I had the tea, I prepped my dumpling sauces.
I’m not really sure what this was. I think it’s soy sauce with vinegar and ginger, but I’m probably very wrong. Whatever it is, it’s good stuff. Oh yeah.
You can just use this with the dumplings, or you can mix it with the chili sauce. You should definitely mix if with the chili sauce. It is really the best. The chili sauce, more like paste I guess, is SO DAMN YUMMY.
Plus, when you mix them together, it looks really, really cool.
I am a sauce artist! A saucetiste!
Hello, little soup-dumpling-soldiers.
Why are you so beautiful? Why is it that the sight of you weakens my knees? Why can’t you live all over my apartment, like some sort of soup-dumpling castle? I would take such good care of you. I have no money, but I would love you forever. Well until I eat you.
See, I didn’t take a lot of pictures of these babies, because, well, I had to eat them immediately! As you guys know, there’s soup (heavenly angelic magical broth) inside these dumplings, and if you just leave ‘em sitting there for a long time, they’ll get cold! You don’t want to eat cold crab and pork broth. Plus the dumpling skin will harden, it’s a big disaster really. More importantly, if you don’t eat them right away, Logan and Val will appear and steal them from you. Seriously, don’t try it. They’ll just magically appear! It’s scary.
There are eight dumplings in an order.
Eight naughty, meat-filled, broth-y, sexy temptresses.
It took all of me not to scoop them up and gobble them up all at once. Plus I also didn’t want to get BURNED.
There’s a strict set of rules to eating them, here’s a demonstration by my assistant, the lovely Logan:
STEP ONE: Use the provided silver tongs to pick up one of these bad girls, very, VERY gently. I can’t stress this enough. The bamboo steamer is lined with lettuce, and if you pick up a dumpling too fast, the evil stubborn lettuce leaf where the dumpling rests on will just not let the damn thing go, and it will stick to the dumpling-bottoms just so and before you know it OHMYGOD it rips and aaaaargghhh bye bye yummy dumpling soup. (wow that’s the longest run-on sentence ever.) Anyways, you’ll be sitting there crying while mr. lettuce laughs and laughs and laughs.
So again, very gently. Pretend you’re handling something very fragile, like newborns, kittens, or my heart. OOOH my fragile heart. I’m just kidding, it’s actually hard as rock, not fragile at all.
STEP TWO: Place said dumpling on spoon.
STEP THREE: Take a tiny, teeny, minuscule little bite. Be careful not to rip the whole thing apart. You know, soup gone bye bye thing, very sad.
STEP FOUR: Using your masterful-chopsticks skills, carefully pick the dumpling up and tip it over the spoon so the soup can freely flow onto the spoon. This is not easy my friends, but you will get used to it. I promise.
STEP FIVE: Gawk at the beauty of that soup. Then, you eat it.
Oh yeah, baby. Pork broth with little bits of real crab, you’ll love it. If you don’t, well you are the suck.
Seriously, the soup is the best part. Yes the meat is ridiculously tasty, but the soup is why there are lines out the door.
Here’s the dumpling after I took a monstrous bite:
It’s like a teepee. A teepee I want to put in my belly.
Here’s the meat, all by its lonesome:
It’s real good smothered with the chili and soy-sauce mix.
Chomp chomp chomp munch munch munch Logan, Val, and I fought over who got three dumplings instead of two (eight dumplings, three people, bad bad bad).
Well it wasn’t really a fight, it went down more like this:
(all of us are eating our first dumplings)
Me: Hey, one of us is gonna have to get only two dumplings, since there’s eight.
(chomp chomp, i was totally ignored)
Me: Umm.. so?
Logan: (said nothing while staring at her plate)
(this went on for over a minute. longest minute of my life. AWKWARD)
Val: I’ll have two, it’s alright.
So as Val graciously excused herself from the fight, Logan and I ate our third dumplings and danced our happy dance. Oh what a glorious sight it was.
Oh wait, there was more deliciousness that followed.
Here’s the kangkungs:
This is Val’s favorite thing, “the green stuff”. It was light, refreshing, and tasty. It’s a change from the dumplings and our greasy (and super yummy) pan-fried noodles. I always get the kangkungs when I go here. TRUST.
Here are them noodles:
Crunchy noodles, big pieces of juicy chicken, and lots of veggies drowned in brown sauce. Oyster sauce, maybe? These noodles are real crunchy, because they are pan-fried. Then you cut them up a little bit, to make it easier to bite. Finally, you mix all of them up and make a big, big mess.
This is what my plate looks like:
What? You want a closer look?
No? Oh I don’t care. Here it is anyway:
So we ate like hungry, hungry, hippos, and it was over in fifteen minutes.
Here is Val in a food coma:
Rating: : five hungrymias. Obviously. The kangkungs and pan-fried noodles were great, but these hungrymias are strictly for the soup dumplings. They are THAT good. Seriously. You need to go to Joe’s ASAP.