Sunday, April 16, 2006

hooray for xlb

My new camera arrived on Friday, and I couldn't be more excited! To celebrate this joyous occasion, Mr. Cupcake and I went for XLB. XLB is short for xiao long bao aka Shanghai dumpling. It's basically a dumpling filled with broth and meat/vegetable. I've only had XLB once before at Koi Palace. A is a huge fan of XLB and raved about Hu Chiang Dumpling House. It definitely piqued my curiosity.

We arrived at HC Dumpling House around 8pm on Friday night, and the place was packed. Mr. Cupcake put us on the waiting list. We waited about 20 minutes, which wasn't bad because apparently the wait can be over an hour on the weekends. I was happy once we were seated because I was starving.

The menu was a little overwhelming because the English descriptions were lacking. I could identify one type of XLB, but wasn't sure about the rest. Our waitress was pushy at first and wanted us to order. We went ahead and ordered the house special XLB and some green onion pancakes. She put the order in and we debated a little bit longer. When the waitress came back Mr. Cupcake and I decided we'd split the braised pork. The waitress then advised us we probably wouldn't like it because the skin was still attached. She suggested the kung pao shrimp instead and Mr. Cupcake and I agreed. We also order a plate of long beans. Mr. Cupcake loves long beans.

The green onion pancakes came out first. It was accompanied with a hoison like sauce. Mr. Cupcake and I didn't really like the pancakes. It tasted like there was a lot of flour on the pancake, and had the texture of a tortilla. Pass on these if you go.

Then came the main event: The XLB had arrived! The bamboo basket contained 8 little dumplings and we devoured all of them. The dumplings were filled with a ball of minced pork and broth. It was tricky to eat because the broth was so hot, but very good nonetheless. We enjoyed the dumplings a lot and wished we had ordered more.

I was not impressed with the Kung Pao Shrimp. The shrimp had a shrimpy flavor that was very unsettling. I couldn't eat very much of this. Mr. Cupcake tried dousing the shrimp in the sauce to mask the flavor. He concluded that not all the shrimp had the shrimpy flavor.

Looking back at the picture I don't think these were long beans. I think they were French green beans in a sweet and sour sauce. Either way Mr. Cupcake thought the beans were over cooked. I thought they were okay. I doubt I'd order it again though.

Our total bill not including tip was $35. The highlight of the meal was definitely the XLB. I did more research when we came home and found out that all the other dumplings on the menu were indeed XLB. I will go again, but just stick with the dumplings. I saw a lot of people with some kind of fluffy, doughy thing. They topped the doughy thing with a filling and then folded it over and ate it like a sandwich. I'll order that too if I can figure out what it was.

I have a few more reviews to do a little later on. Mr. Cupcake and I were out and about shopping for a new mattress this weekend. It's tiring work, so of course we rewarded ourselves with food.


Hungry Jaye said...

What kind of camera did you get? My blog is going to be put on hold because my cheap ass camera broke down today and I'm looking for a new one.

madame cupcake said...

I ended up with a Sony DSC-W50. So far so good! I like it because it's slim with a big screen. The features are good, interface is coherent, and it was reasonably priced at $250 from Amazon.

It was tough for me to choose a camera because I've always been a loyal Canon consumer. I'm now boycotting them. Fortunately, after a little bit of research, this Sony met all my needs. HTH!