Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings)
We had an errand in Cambridge on Saturday, and Dumpling House, the sister restaurant of Dumpling Cafe in Chinatown, was just down the street, so we stopped for lunch. You can’t go to either place without ordering the Xiao Long Bao, because they have the best soup dumplings anywhere. Especially in the cold weather, a hot soup dumpling will soothe your soul like nothing else.
In addition to the soup dumplings, we had some garlic-and-pepper pickled cucumbers that were an unexpected delight. Big cucumber chunks in a savory, garlicky sauce with just a tinge of heat. I was epxecting something much different, but we really liked these a lot, and will definitely have them the next time we’re there.
Our entrees were also not what we expeected but equally excellent. I ordered what the menu calls “Minced pork with noodles, Northern style”. I expected a hot and spicy dish that I sometimes make at home that has ground pork and uses doubanjiang. Instead, “minced” pork meant small dice, and the sauce was black-bean based, with red bell pepper and what I think was diced zucchini (or maybe more likely some Chinese squash). It was not at all spicy, but very deeply flavored. Bridget ordered cabbage with chilis, which came in kind of a broth and was also not as spicy as we had expected, considering the many bits of dried red chilis in the dish, but was quite tasty. I guess the chilis just needed time to do their work, because when I ate the leftovers a couple of days later, it was much hotter.