2006.07.12

xiao long bao

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AKA Shanghai soup dumplings — heaven in a bamboo steamer! Dim sum in Hong Kong is so good. even the randomly-picked restaurant we wandered into was miles better than anything I’ve experienced in New York or Vancouver.

If you’re not Lia and don’t live and breathe xiao long bao, here’s a short description: thin, doughy wrapper around a ground pork meatball floating in broth, tied off and then steamed. Put the whole thing in your mouth and let it all come undone in a juicy burst of flavor. Putting the whole thing together is a delicate affair, which is the only reason I can think of for the heinous crime of these being impossible to find in Seattle.

Still, these will tide me over for awhile. yum!

I realize I complained inordinately about Starbucks in my Macau entry, so I really should put in a good word: I admit, Starbucks in Asia rocks my world, because they serve mango tea frappucinos! They’re possibly the best virgin iced drink ever, and doubly so in the sauna-like conditions of southest Asia. Seriously, it’s like they crushed a frozen mango directly into a cup, and if you’ve had mangoes in Asia, you know things don’t get much better than that.

Felt kind of ashamed & very ugly-American, going into a Starbucks every day for a little dose of nirvana. On this trip alone I spent time sipping mango frapps in Hong Kong, Macau, and Japan*, and I’m no coffee drinker but I’d go to Starbucks every day in Seattle if they carried them here. No shame.

Okay, just a little shame.

*in Japan, they only list short, tall, and grande on the Starbucks menu. I didn’t know short was even an option! Short coffees come in the cutest little cups, but this being Japan, they still cost something like forty dollars each.


  • I think you can actually still ask for short drinks at US Starbucks. It's just not on the menu anymore because everything's gotta be big.

    I do like the new creme frappuccino drinks Starbucks has. I like the green tea one. I think there's a raspberry one or something, too? And maybe the mango one's made it here to the South? I'll have to check for you.

  • All these posts of food and pics galore are making me hungry! I love dim sum. I remember siu lung bao in Richmond where eating them is a balance between zeal over taking in the whole thing (take care or the juice will spill over) and grace in savouring every bit of it.

    Too bad Chinese food here in Seattle (ID) don't even come close to those in Vancouver BC. My parents say it's because of really good Cantonese chefs from Hong Kong.

  • That's the first explanation for "tall" being the smallest size at Starbucks that I've ever heard. There is a smaller choice, if elsewhere. I can rest easy.

    We're definitely going out for dim sum this weekend. They may not be Hong Kong, but I'm grateful for San Francisco's chinatowns.

  • Keep on posting your tasty travel treats!

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