Our destination, Joe’s Shanghai Restaurant, was easy to spot thanks to the crowd of would-be diners loitering on the footpath, sitting on the curb, and spilling onto the road, much to the annoyance of the occasional car that drove past. We got our number (84) and a time estimate (45 mins) and then Mr M and I dragged my visiting parents to the nearest pub for a drink. This turned out to be Winnie’s Bar andRestaurant – a charming, kitschy, slightly dive-y Chinese Karaoke bar, with big red booths with vinyl seats – about a 10 minute walk and a good find.
Forty minutes later we returned to Joe’s Shanghai to find that although we had missed our call, we thankfully, didn’t have to go to the back of the line. After a further 25 minutes of loitering we were in, squeezed onto a big round table with three other dumpling seekers.
You see, Joe’s Shanghai is all about the dumplings, soup dumplings to be exact – and to avoid confusion, this does not refer to dumplings in soup, but rather, soup in dumplings (along with some meat). Sure the other food is good, but the dumplings..... my oh my.
After ordering our pork soup dumplings the diner’s sharing our table kindly provided some valuable tips on how to eat these dumplings without waste or injury (i.e. burning our mouths). We, in turn, shared this information with the next set of would be dumpling eaters.
How to eat soup dumplings (forget elegance, this is not first date or dinner with the Queen food)
- Lift soup dumpling gently into Chinese spoon with the mini tongs – lift from the top, as lifting from the sides may pierce the thin dumpling (and you could lose some of that delicious soup).
- Keep the dumpling in the spoon (do not put on plate), so any escaping soup remains accessible in the spoon
- Nibble the top off the soup dumpling to allow air to cool the inside of the dumpling (to speed up the cooling process you could use your chopstick to widen cooling vent)
- Spoon a little of the vinegar/ginger sauce into the cooling vent
- Eat and enjoy
While we went to Joe's Shanghai in Chinatown Manhattan, they also have a restaurant in Midtown and one in Flushing Queens. The one in Queens is likely to be less touristy - read about a previous trip to Flushing here.