After seeing the documentary Cartel Land, that I highly recommend, Jodi and I were in the mood for Chinese food. As we walked towards Chinatown, I suddenly remembered a place I wanted to try on the busy Saint-Marks: The Bao. It was 7pm on a Saturday evening and I was not sure if we would get a table, as this place got lots of attention for its dumplings. When we arrived, we immediately got a table and did not have to sit at the communal table located in the back of the dining room.
When we got the menu, I got confused. First, I admit that I heard about this place on Instagram and had no idea what their specialty is. Reading the description of the xiao long Bao, I got confused as for me, bao are these steamed sandwiches that I tried at Baohaus and made one time at home (recipe here). I never read articles about a restaurant before going, explaining my ignorance. So, I asked the waiter who simply told me that they were pork soup dumplings.
We decided to go for it.
We chose the pork one (they propose crab and pork, as well as extra spicy). The only soup dumplings I tried were at Joe's Shanghai (and its sister restaurant Joe's Ginger) and Red Farm. These were smaller, with a lighter color and a thinner shell. I liked them as much as in the other places, the soup was a bit fatty and tasty.
We also ordered the scallion pancakes that were no surprise: crispy and slightly greasy, as they should be.
Last was the Shanghai fried noodles.
I admit that, although I liked the dish, it was not what I expected: the noodles did not seem fried and were not crunchy. They were thick, served with a thick sauce, bokchoi and some small pieces of meat. I would order it again!
So it was a good meal with a good value ($30). Would I go back to The Bao? Definitely.
Enjoy (I did)!
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