Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dumplings so good I had to swear. Fuck.

Come to think of it, there aren't many memorable Wednesdays I can remember in my life, except of course, for today.
I've always wanted to try this new dumpling place. Coincidentally my date with Louise was probably overdue by 3 months. So we kinda decided to meet up on a hump day for our on going food quest since 2006.
The name Hu Tong is a big contrast with their neighbor Flower Drum. It's saying 'Yeh screw you I'm not going to come up with something cute for you white people'.
So without further ado, this is the feast:


The good thing about Louise is that she is always up front with how much she could eat. It's been a long while since I've had so much fun. Let us start with the Xiao Long Bao(小笼包):


What can I say? We no longer have to compromise with Shanghai Dumpling House. No more 'yeh it's not really that great but at least the ginger broth is good(sometimes) and it's not that expensive'. The XLB in Hu Tong has thin but delicate skin (experts would refer to the 'folds' of the dumplings), yet strong enough to hold the broth within itself (fig. 3). The mince meat is soft with the right texture unlike some meatballs you normally find.


The pan fried dumpling
(锅贴) is probably nothing you have seen. First glance they look like steamed dumplings until you observe the thin crusty pancake below. I dare not say this is the authentic way of preparing the dish, but this is the literal translation of the dish's name, because 锅贴 means 'sticking to the pan'. In short, steamed dumplings with a crunch at the bottom.


One can observe the fillings are different from the XLB's (fig.5).


The Dan Dan Noodles was probably good, but got overshadowed by the dumplings. I ordered it just cause. One could compare it to the hot girl's ugly sidekick friend.

fig. 6

The wild card of the night was probably the Szechuan spicy chicken. If Dainty's version were to be referred as an atomic bomb, Hu Tong's would probably be more like fireworks. It's just the little things like the peanuts and their extra seasoning in the batter.


All in all, I doubt that there's any better tasting dumpling within the CBD. The downside of the restaurant would be the awkward triangle chairs, limited seating even with a 2nd floor and the radical (ingenious) location, Market Lane. It is competing directly against Flower Drum, Shoya and two other German and Korean restuarants. These aren't casual restaurants so I doubt people would get seduced by dumplings when they have already made reservation for $200 meals. Let's hope they manage to carve the niche.

Update: I realised I left out the most imporant thing for certain people - the price. The XLBs were going for $8.5 for 8 and I think we paid $9 for the 12 pan fried dumplings. The chicken was the pricey one at $20+ while I honestly can't remember anything about the Dan Dan Noodles.