For more years than I can remember, I have always made a beeline for a stall in Sim Lim Square food centre for xiao longbao (Shanghai soup dumplings) and guotie (potstickers).
It was a shock when I went there early this year and found the stall vacant. I left, feeling disappointed.
So, I was more than happy to chance upon a stall called China Delicious selling the Chinese snacks in Toa Payoh Lorong 8 hawker centre and market recently. Set up by two friendly China nationals from Yantai, a coastal city in Shandong province, the one-year-old stall serves a mean xiao longbao (five for $3 or 10 for $5).
Above: The soup dumplings of China Delicious. PHOTO: Thng Lay Teen
The Shanghainese dumplings take at least two days to make and are juicy with lots of great broth.
Partners Ba Wei, 39, and Yang Wei, 41, say that the broth, cooked with a whole chicken and pork bones, has to be simmered for one day and left to cool, also for one day, before it can be used.
Ms Ba says that to cater to Singaporeans’ tastebuds, she has had to cut down on the salt and oil. Only lean cuts of pork are used, unlike the more fatty meat they use back home.
And another difference, she says, is that she incorporates stock for all the dumplings she sells, including dumplings filled with pork and chives.
In China, where she and her partner have been selling dumplings for more than 10 years, no broth is used, except for xiao longbao. They say, based on feedback from regulars, customers do not like the filling in the dumplings to be too dry. The result is that the pork or pork and chive dumplings (zhengjiao, six for $3) and fried dumplings with pork or pork and chives (guotie, eight for $4) are all nice and juicy. And the potstickers are lightly panfried so they are not oily at all.
I like the silky-smooth skin of pork dumplings, which come with minced meat or minced meat with chives (shuijiao, 10 for $5).
These are boiled so some may find them a little bland but, for me, they are definitely healthy snacks.
This article was first run The Straits Times newspaper on March 24, 2013. For similar stories, go to sph.straitstimes.com/premium/singapore. You will not be able to access the Premium section of The Straits Times website unless you are already a subscriber.
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