Discovering the highs and doughs of delicious Asian dumplings
by Michele Sponagle
With more than 400 Asian restaurants, this city has been touted as having the most authentic Chinese cuisine outside of China. Surprise! It’s not San Francisco or New York. It’s Richmond, British Columbia, a 30-minute drive from Vancouver, Canada. With so many restaurants, featuring everything from Korean to Malay cuisine, knowing where to start eating may feel daunting.
Have no fear. Follow Richmond’s new dumpling trail to find the best eats the city offers. Focusing on just one food item simplifies your culinary exploration. And with 20+ different types of dumplings, from deep fried to dessert versions, boredom is not an option.
Here’s your crash course on the top 6 most coveted, must-eat dumplings:
Xiao Long Bo. Sometimes called ‘soup dumplings,’ these pouches of deliciousness featured in Shanghai cuisine are filled with ground pork and broth. Eating them takes practice. Bite a wee hole in the side, suck out the liquid, then devour! Try the handmade ones from R&H Chinese Food.
Siu Mai. Wrapped in thin, supply golden dough, these colorful steamed dumplings come packed with pork and shrimp, crowned with bright red salmon roe. They’re a dim sum staple that you’ll find at The Jade Seafood Restaurant.
Japan’s favorite crescent-shaped dumplings look like mini pierogi. They are served crispy and hot straight out of hot frying pan. Filled with pork or seafood, eat them after a quick dunk in soy sauce. Try them at Shibuyatei Sushi & Larmen.
Har Gow. Shrimp lovers are in their happy place when a bamboo steamer basket crammed with these nuggets, enveloped in chew pastry made with tapioca starch, arrives at your table. Snag a couple of orders at Shiang Garden Seafood Restaurant.
You’ll spot these scrumptious dumplings, plumped up with minced meat and vegetables, on menus at Korean eateries. Steamed, baked, boiled or fried, they come with spicy kimchi on the side. Find them at Samsoonie Noodle & Rice.
Jian Dui. To finish, opt for something sweet. These ping-pong ball-sized treats have lotus or red bean paste in the centre and are surrounded by rice flour pastry fried until crispy, then amply coated in sesame seeds. Empire Seafood Restaurant wins plenty of raves for their versions.
To plot your course through dumpling nirvana in Richmond, check out the DumplingTrail.com site for details.
Michele Sponagle is a prolific lifestyle and travel writer based in Paris, Ontario, a small town an hour from Toronto, Canada. She has contributed to many top media outlets like WashingtonPost.com, GoodHousekeeping.com and Refinery29. In pursuit of a good story, she’s interviewed celebrities, from Gwen Stefani to Patrick Dempsey, tracked polar bears on foot and fished for piranha in the Amazon. She has sampled hotel beds in more than 70 countries. Follow Michele on Twitter: @Msponagle