In search of Xi'an Dumplings and Hong Kong Goose
We just returned from China where we experienced a great solar eclipse. The extraordinary food we ate on the trip was a wonderful bonus. One of our most memorable meals was in Xi'an where we sampled some twenty different dumplings (each fantastic) at De Fe Chang Dumpling Restaurant. In Hong Kong, at Yung Kee, the goose was so good I almost ordered another serving for desert.
Any hope of finding dumplings or goose anywhere near as good in Boston (or New York)?
No roast goose in Boston. Sorry - it's one of my favorite things to indulge on in Hong Kong as well.
There are several dumpling options in Chinatown (Wangs, Taiwan Cafe, to Gourmet Dumpling House) but I think the general consensus is definitely not as good as China and NYC's offerings are closer to the original.
I don't really know what Xi An dumplings are like, but Gourmet Dumpling House, King Fung, and even Little Q's mirrors the thick skinned variety. I went to a similar chain restaurant in Tianjin, and they served the thick skinned type. I have yet to find dumplings filled with squash and lamb around here so if it's the filling selection and creativity you're looking for I don't think you'll have much luck.
The lamb dumplings at little Q's are pretty good. No squash though (darnit).
QingDao Garden has decidedly different dumplings, with thinner skin and a more homemade kind of taste. My experience with it has been up and down though.
If the dumplings are not boiled, but steamed, similar to the kind you'd find at street corners in Beijing, the closest thing I've had to it is actually a Momo from a Nepali restaurant (the only one I have experience with is Himalayan Bistro so I have no momo comparisons to offer). Get some chinese vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil, ditch their sauce, or don't because it's pretty good, and pretend you ordered lamb steamed dumplings in China.
Xi'An restaurants have this wonderful thing called a JiaoZi Yan (dumpling banquet), where each steamer has a dumpling of a different shape, size and color, and the shape of the dumpling implies something about its contents. I saw dumplings at one place in Xi'An that looked like frogs, ears of corn, fish with beautiful diaphanous tails, even one shaped like a peanut that turned out to have peanut butter and jelly inside. I haven't seen anything remotely like this anywhere in the northeast US, but if you were going to try anywhere in the Boston area, I'd ask the guys at FuLoon. It certainly wouldnt be a menu standard thing, but the chef might know how to make some fancy dumplings on request.
If what you're looking for are simply the expertly produced straight-up dumplings, eaten with bites of raw garlic in between each dumpling, you'll find something close to this at a few places, including QingDao Garden, MuLan and Wang's. You'll have to ask for the raw garlic, though.
375 Main St, Malden, MA 02148
228 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139
Wang's Fast Food
509 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02145
Qingdao Garden Restaurant
2382 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140