Wangfujing and the Marvelous Soup Dumplings

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A quest for the famed soup dumplings from Wangfujing has begun. After trekking across town in the extreme summer heat, you see a large ornate gate. This gate acts as a passageway from regular Yokohama, to it’s bustling Chinatown. From the second you step across the barrier, you are bombarded with culinary choices. What do you do?

Wangfujing

After avoiding a swath of delicious distractions I found myself standing in front of Wangfujing Shuka. Located about one block into the main street of Yokohama Chinatown. It doesn’t stand out much.
This is the China Town version of not standing out
Upon entering, I saw a freezer with dumplings to take home, a seating area for about 6 groups, a sweet golden dragon, and a clear box with a woman inside. You know, normal stuff.
 I could watch her make dumplings for hours 
After staring at the dumpling lady for a good 5 minutes, I was offered to take a seat and actually order some food. The man who took my order instantly assumed I was there for the 2000 yen (20 bucks) lunch buffet. I was not, but I did instantly regret having had a decent breakfast. Quickly I turned to the fifth or so page of what must have been a twenty page menu, and point at the dumplings I had been told about.

Shrimp Soup Dumpling

Food and weapon of mouth destruction

The Dumplings arrived after about 15 minutes of waiting. I was given a soup spoon, a small bowl, and some chopsticks. Being pretty new to the soup dumpling scene, I had no clue what the bowl and spoon were for. I took the chop sticks into hand, picked up the fist dumpling, and took a bite right out of the side.

Bam!

Soup went flying all over the table, my mouth, and my shirt. The delicious broth mixed with the shrimp to create a wonderful and light taste. It also created a second degree burn in my mouth. Fighting off the pain, I worked without success, to try and eat the others with less mess.

Damn. I wanted more.

Meat Soup Dumpling

I drank all the soup first and it’s still juicy

I was now onto the second set of dumplings. Having had time to come up with a new method to eat them, I took action. First i held the bowl near my mouth, picked up the dumpling with my chopsticks, and attacked from the nipple like protrusion at the top.

Sucking like a baby thirsty from being stuck in the desert, I was able to extract some soup. I also manged to pop the dumpling from the seam, and spilled the remaining contents into the bowl. The first taste was marvelous. Soon I was devouring the makeshift wonton soup I had just created on accident. God, was it super flavorful. The broth was rich and really complimented the almost sweet pork.

Once I made it to my final dumpling, someone kindly instructed me in the proper eating method.

The Method

Dumpling put into spoon, chopstick pokes hole in dumpling, soup drips into spoon, eat over the bowl. No fuss, no muss.

Pan Fried Soup Dumplings

I was informed that these are the most popular choice with foreigners, and their signature dish. I decided to try them. The flavors were vegetable and meat.

Green = vegetable

The vegetable dumpling was green with a fried and crispy bottom. Following the eating method above I was able to enjoy soup and dumpling as one. I wasn’t too big on this flavor as the vegetable taste was very overpowering. The filling also seemed to have meat so I’m sure it wasn’t vegetarian.

This = Tasty

The meat version looked like the vegetable one, but not green. Having become a pro, I ate these dumplings no problem. The broth on this one was a bit richer than any of the others which was nice. I think the meat dried out a little in the process of pan frying, but it did not bother me much. The wrapper was a bit crispy and pleasantly chewy.

The fried dumplings are very convenient to get a hold of. Wangfujing has stands outside most of it’s locations just for them.  I would absolutely not hesitate to grab them if I was walking by and wanted a snack.

Overall I enjoyed the steamed ones better.

Worth the Journey

Soup dumpling champions

Wangfujing is famous for these dumplings, they have been on TV, have at least three locations, and a history that goes back over one hundred years (allegedly.)

Suffice to say, these dumplings were good. I have heard various opinions about if they stack up to the ones you can find in Taiwan, China, or elsewhere. Having never been to any of those places, I simply can’t compare them. I will say that I enjoyed myself at Wangfujing, and want to try the buffet to see if the other offerings are as good.

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