I just returned from a relaxing holiday vacation to the East Coast, cannot wait to get back to blogging about my travels and meals! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season, and rang in the New Year the right way!
Originally, the beau and I were planning to spend the holidays exclusively in the Washington D.C. area, but at the last minute, we decided to take an inpromptu day trip to New York City. Our first and most important stop in the State of New York, was in Flushing, New York, to Joe’s Shanghai Restaurant for the beau’s favorite shao loeng baos, or small pork dumplings, steamed in bamboo baskets lined with napa cabbage. When I had visited Joe’s Shanghai back in 2005, I remember eating large dumplings, but this time around, the dainty pork-filled dumplings were perky and bite-sized, unlike the oversized and baggy cousins I previously consumed. However, the signature soup within the shao loeng baos was still thick and dense with savory pork flavor, and not as light and brothy as other shao loeng baos I have had in California.
But my shao loeng bao experience is not the main point of this terrific story.
That blustery day, the chilly NYC wind was especially unforgiving as it whipped our numbed, raw, and chapped noses and cheeks. Thus, soon after we ate, we randomly dove for shelter through a swinging door papered with flyers and followed steps underground into a crowded, fluorescently lit underground mall for an amazing discovery. Tucked underneath the unkempt streets of New York's Chinese enclave, was a swap meet-like amalgamation of vendors selling fantastic items, such as unlabeled DVDs of blockbuster movies for $1 dollar, and Coach, Gucci, and Versace look-alike items labeled as "Goach," "Cucci," and "Versacce." Best of all, we unearthed a bounty of small food vendors that sold mismatched plastic or Styrofoam bowls abundant with hearty noodle soups and handmade dumplings.
We saw several food stalls where the food was being prepared in plastic pastel-colored Chinatown buckets, and knew we had arrived at a special place, where the food had to be good.
Unfortunately, there was no additional room in our stomachs because of our earlier visit to Joe’s Shanghai, but now we know where to go eat when we return to NYC. I hope these pictures give you an idea of this underground mall--I had to "start spreading the news" about this wonderful New York place.