I’ve got a week left in Chengdu and I plan to eat Sichuan food a lot before I do. Consider it a culinary farewell tour. I hope to share a few of those meals with you on this blog, mostly to selfishly have a archive of all the deliciousness there was to be had this year. Let’s start with one of my favorite Sichuan xiaochi or snacks…
Actually, its not a Sichuan snack, its a Shanghai snack, but I don’t think I’ll be getting them in Bangkok (although some people have figured out how to make them at home!). I do know that I have a hard time walking by a huge oily fryer without picking some up.
The great thing about this savory deliciousness is it mixes two wonderful culinary things in one, the Shanghainese soup dumpling (xiao long bao) and the everywhere in China source of starch thats not noodles or rice, baozi. I like to call them xiao long baozi. Don’t go ordering one that way though – because I’m not sure what you would get. In the real world, where people speak proper Mandarin instead of making up nicknames for everything they are called “sheng jian bao.” I have a week left, so I’ll stick with the “point and show with my fingers how many I want” method.
The place I usually go sells them for 1 RMB for three baozi (for Chengdu-ren my favorite spot is a in the block between second ring road and kehua jie). The greatest thing about them is that they’re good fresh, where the soup hasn’t been absorbed by the surrounding baozi and it explodes out and burns your mouth (still pleasantly delicious though). The baozi is also good when they’ve rested for a while (toying with danger, I know) and it has sucked up all the soup so that the bottom is nice and crunchy. Yep, they’re delicious all the time.
Stay tuned tomorrow for my dissertation on noodles.