Xiao Long Bao at Fuzhou Wei Zhong Wei – NYC
Happy New Year! No, not a again. Happy Lunar New Year! And no, it’s not Chinese New Year, but Lunar New Year. If you didn’t know, several countries in Asia beside China celebrate the Lunar New Year, including Korea. However, being in the US with a huge Chinese population, Chinese celebrations usually dominate. Which I don’t mind, because it gives me yet another excuse to eat Chinese food.
Today, I made my way into Chinatown because I was in the mood for some Chinese sweets. What met me instead was flying confetti, the constant pop of Party Snaps, and giant lions waiting to dance down the street for the Lunar New Year Parade. The Chinese dessert shop, however, was closed so I ducked into East Broadway Mall because I remembered there was a noodle shop on the lower level I had always wanted to try.
When I saw the stall/restaurant years ago after dim sum at 88 Palace upstairs, I remembered there was no English menu. This time, luckily for me, there was a English menu on the wall which helped me immensely since no one spoke English. Don’t bother trying to order by number however. Again, no one speaks English. I had to point to a line item with chopsticks on tippy toes. Although I realized afterwords, I didn’t need to. I had pointed at Small Steamed Buns ($4), to which the waitress asked, “Xiao long bao?” I in return nodded emphatically, and said “Yes, xiao long bao!”
Although what I got, wasn’t Shanghainese xiao long bao. These were more like mini steamed pork buns with no soup inside. Lots of oil, but barely any soup.
Still, the buns were hot, fluffy, with just enough sweetness. As for the filling, it was heavy on soy, but still enjoyable. Warning: every once in while there was a chewy or hard bit, but the rest was juicy and tender.
As buns go, these were oily, but quite tasty. Also, with a plastic container of plain broth on the side served gratis, very filling. Filling enough I didn’t even mind when the dessert shop was still closed after my impromptu meal. Chinese dessert will happen another time in 2014.
Till then, Happy New Year! May the year of the horse take you on an exhilarating culinary ride!
Fuzhou Wei Zhong Wei
88 E Broadway, Basement Level (b/n East Broadway & Forsyth St; map)
New York, NY 10002