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Dumplings in Chengdu

miss_bennet Jan 29, 2008 12:26 PM

I realize that this is probably hopeless, but...

I was in China in 2005 and I went to a restaurant/idner where I was served a ten-course meal. One of the courses was steamed meat dumplings in a spicy, addictive sauce. They were absolutely amazing. Fortunately a couple of other Westerners at my table couldn't handle the heat (it was our first meal in Sichuan) and I got to eat theirs, too. These were, without a doubt, the most delicious thing I had on my 17-day trip around China.

Does anyone know what they could be called? I really want to try to find them in Vancouver, Canada.

(I don't know the name of the restaurant, either. I know that it was in the same block as the Philharmonic Hotel, which was owned by the Sichuan Conservatory of Music.)


I just read another Chengdu post and I think that these are the dumplings.


  1. pepper_mil Jan 29, 2008 11:26 PM

    Are you certain they were steamed? Shui jiao and chao shou are both boiled. The pictured ones are definitely the wonton type - hong2 you2 chao1 shou3 红油抄手. (chao shou are wontons in sichuan language).

    Did a blog post on chao shou not too long ago:


    6 Replies
    1. re: pepper_mil
      Xiao Yang Jan 30, 2008 07:02 AM

      Nice blog, thanks.

      For the record, although shui jiao (as the name implies) are usually boiled, a
      steamed version of a similar dumpling can sometimes be found, like the ones in this picture:


      I've encountered them myself in Shanghai. I've never encountered steamed wontons, though.

      1. re: pepper_mil
        miss_bennet Jan 30, 2008 02:07 PM

        I am not sure that they were steamed. I just meant that they were served hot, not cold.

        Can I ask, Pepper_mil, are Ants climbing a tree the same as the Chengdu Tantan noodles? I had so much food there, I forget a lot of it. Tantan noodles here seem to be noodles covered in peanut sauce, which is so wrong.

        1. re: miss_bennet
          pepper_mil Jan 30, 2008 04:17 PM

          They are different. Ants climbing a tree is always made with dou fer (bean thread noodles) and dan dan mian use wheat noodles. The seasonings are different too, and dan dan mian is more of a snack while ants climing a tree is a main dish.

          oh, dan dan mian on a menu: 但但面

          1. re: pepper_mil
            Cookingthebooks Jan 31, 2008 04:11 AM

            I thought the noodles in Ants climbing a tree (bean thread noodles) were called fen si?

            Agree that ants is more of a dish -- generally eaten with rice.

            1. re: Cookingthebooks
              Xiao Yang Jan 31, 2008 06:49 AM

              What's in a name? Cook's Thesaurus lists about 40 different names for bean thread noodles that may show up in print and doesn't even include what most Shanghainese call them, "xi fen".


              1. re: Cookingthebooks
                pepper_mil Jan 31, 2008 10:32 PM

                Yes, I think that is a more correct name for them. I meant the noodles in that dish are made from bean starch = dou fen, in Mandarin. Locally we say 'fer' for 'fen' and the term can also mean noodles themselves (like some varieties of the cold seasoned type), but I am not sure if you can use it in this case.

        2. Xiao Yang Jan 29, 2008 07:02 PM

          Most Sichuan-style restaurants will have a version of this dish, called something like "dumplings in chili oil" (usually in the appetizers section of the menu). It's a simple dish, just conventional "shui jiao" dumplings or sometimes wontons served in a dish of very spicy chili oil or sauce.

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