Wednesday, April 30, 2008

NYC 2008: Jing Fong and Joe's Shanghai

Jing Fong is a HUGE restaurant that requires you to be seated with other people if you’re in smaller groups, but we didn’t mind since we’re there for the food. Waitstaff came right away with tea, and gave us water/sauces quickly when we asked for them. The pushcarts came around fast too, with fresh and delicious dimsum. I especially loved the sharkfin dumplings, shrimp/vegetable dumplings, and my ultimate favorite – shrimp chang fen. I LOVE DIM SUM! I was so hungry that I didn’t take photos of everything, here’s just a sample.

There’s also a table where you can get pan-fried items like radish cakes, as well as dishes of vegetables, clam in black bean sauce, etc. We didn’t do that because we intended on saving room for Joe’s Shanghai soupy dumplings (which was more than worthwhile)...

There was still a line of 15 or so people at Joe's Shanghai around 2pm, but we didn’t mind grabbing a number and waiting because we were actually full from dimsum at Jing Fong. We grabbed some cheap coffee from a ghetto breakfast joint down the street and sipped while waiting for our number to be called.

Again, this restaurant followed the shared-table procedure. We were seated within 20 minutes at a round table with 8 other guests from 3 separate groups. Waiter immediately came and asked if I wanted “tang bao”, and I said “yes”. Later I found out it took longer to cook, so they advise you to let them know the second you sit down instead of after you’ve thought about what to order.

Hub was so full that he warned me against overly ordering, and I really didn’t intend on doing that either. BUT they had TWO choice of soupy dumplings (crabmeat vs. pork), so I HAD to get 1 of each! Then I thought about the clams I saw at Jing Fong but didn’t order, and thought.. what’s one more platter? They had two different kinds of clams, and a choice of stir fry with black bean sauce or green onions/garlic. Since we’ve always tried the black bean sauce, I went with the latter this time.

Our first order of ‘xiao long tang bao’ came shortly after we placed the full order --- MMM. The skin was perfectly silky and thin, our tongues were immediately burned by the hot and surprisingly a LOT of flavorful soup… the minced pork flavor was delicious. This has to be one of my favorite little packages.. whoever invented this is friggin brilliant.

Second order of ‘xiao long tang bao’ was even better… the crab yolk added so much intensified flavor, our mouths felt sticky. I wish Chicago had a place closer to the perfection of these treasures.

Clams were fresh, and nicely flavored. Nothing I’d cry over with excitement, but it was good… and of course being the pigs that we are, we finished everything we ordered. I don’t think we’ve ever NOT finished something (except a bad sushi experience at Midori years ago).

We left more than satisfied, in fact, TOO satisfied because I actually felt my stomach trying to push out the food I stuffed into my mouth. I tried my hardest to digest by walking til blisters formed on my foot. Painful it may seem, it was worth it… and I’d be more than happy to visit again.

Jing Fong Restaurant
18 Elizabeth St (Cross Street: Canal Street)
(212) 964-5256

Joe's Shanghai
9 Pell St Ste 1
(Cross Street: Bowery)
(212) 233-8888

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