Tuesday, April 28, 2015

monty hall time

Let's make a deal.

This cruise has a lot of sea days scattered over the next two weeks.  Today was one of them.  And sea days do not lend themselves to very interesting essays.  Well, at least, thematic essays.

I can think of two major options for my writing dilemma.  I could dig back into my writer's trunk for cruise material that did not make it into a previous blog.  Or I could fall back on the grist of editors -- political observations that may be of interest to no one (but that are always guaranteed to increase internet hits).

The apparent dilemma is not really a dilemma.  It is a Hobson's choice.  Ergo, stuff from the trunk it will be.

And today that is not a problem.  Before I left Mexico, fellow blogger Don Cuevas over at My Mexico Kitchen sent me several culinary tips.  We had exchanged correspondence on our mutual love for Cantonese dim sum restaurants.

But Shanghai is not Canton.  The good Don came to the rescue.  Shanghai is well-known for its own version of steamed buns, or Baozi.

And it is a reputation well-earned.  Roy and I discovered that at a Chinese banquet hall near our hotel.  Bite of China. 

Yeah.  Yeah.  I know.  It sounds like the name of a Chinese restaurant somewhere in Puerto Vallarta.

It turns out Juliet was correct, though.  There is often not much in a name.  Especially that one.

Upon being seated, we were presented with a menu of at least forty pages with plenty of offerings in Chinese.  Fortunately, each entry included a photograph and a sometimes-eccentrically-translated English name.

We ate there twice -- each time with great results.  My last dinner was a rather unusual combination -- pork braised in a soy reduction with quail eggs.

But the best choices were in the back of the menu.  One of the recommended Baozi on Don Cueva's list was Xiaolongbao.  It was undoubtedly our favorite.

The dough was very thin compared to the other buns.  We knew we were going to get pork and crab as a filling.  What was surprising is that each dumpling was filled with a savory beef broth along with the expected filling. 

Both of us could have made a full meal out of them.  But we wanted to try others: shrimp, vegetable, chives.  They were all good.  But the dough on those buns was far thicker than the light covering on the Xiaolonbao.

Don Cueva had it right.  In China, buns it is.

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