QING HUA DUMPLING
Well, maybe someone has heard prayers for soup dumplings.
Imagine my surprise driving along St. Marc and spying this joint near Tupper that promises those elusive dumplings.
It's a spare, tiny, all-white basement space with three foldout tables and about 12 or so folding chairs, a cash register in the back, and a little counter with condiments, napkins and utensils and such.
But when I was there, all the seats were filled, mostly by Chinese university students chattering away in Mandarin and chowing down dumplings.
I didn't have time to sit and indulge so take out it was.
It's a one sheet paper menu with over 20 different dumplings, grouped under:
Seafood, Seafood with Meat
Pork, Beef, Lamb
plus a smattering of appetizers and other dishes.
But dumplings are pretty much it. They come boiled or steamed, 18 per order, ranging from 7 to 14 bucks.
The helpful cashier-waitress recommended the pork and seafood and lamb coriander.
Not feeling like lamb, I got the beef coriander, boiled, and the pork and seafood, steamed.
It takes 25 minutes for the prep and cooking.
But I think it was well worth the wait.
I am no expert on soup dumplings but BOY did these taste good.
And she did warn me about biting into these succulent bits "because there's soup inside."
Juicy explosions abound!
The beef and coriander were fab, though I am prejudiced since I love coriander.
The pork ones were okay, with a little half of a shrimp and a faint ginger taste.
I preferred the boiled: brings out the doughyness which I also love.
Not sure if soup dumplings are supposed to be like that, but they were similar to what I've eaten in NYC.
BUT they looked like regular, oblong dumplings, thick wrapper, crimped along the top.
Are they supposed to look like little, round, thick-wrapped dumplings with twisted tops? I've seen and eaten both.
No matter:I gobbled them up.
Dumplings are their speciality, handmade they say, but I spied two tables snarfing down beef on huge bones, like the pork ones I've eaten at Lao Beijing. And they even had the requisite plastic gloves. When I queried, the gal says it's on the menu under "Salads"(?!?!) which is all in Chinese by the way. (More on that later) It's 6th on the list. And when I mentioned I'd eaten something similar on Cote-des-Neiges, she said straightaway, "Oh, Lao Beijing!"
The menu is in Chinese and English, except for several items (like the Salads section that includes those yummy looking meaty bones). So next visit, I'll ask for translations!
They also had some lovely tea, herbal like, which the kind miss told me was sunflower. I thought maybe Chrysanthemum, it was faintly similar.
Hoping soup dumpling expert hounds can report on this place, and if it rates, encourage them!
YAY! I love soup dumplings!
I am certainly to indulge soon.
I would say that your description concerns me a little bit. My favorite soup dumplings have a very thin wrapper, so thin that you think you will break them when you touch them, but they have a surprising resiliency and a wonderful texture. So delicate. Also, I like the really fatty soups inside the dumpling. Now if these taste good, of course I'll forgive the thickness of the skin and eat them happily. But I'll keep on searching for the really thin skinned ones, they really are works of art, takes the hand of a master to get such perfect skins.
Thanks Chilipepper! I can't wait to try this place out! I have to say that the Chinese food scene is really looking up these days. Maybe it is just that I am paying attention more, but it is getting easier and easier to get a great Chinese meal in Montreal. It does seem the Concordia ghetto is the up and coming place for good, interesting, inexpensive Asian food.
They were probably closed for the Chinese New Year - some places in that area took the day or days off (like Resto du Bonheur or whatever it's called on St. Mathieu).
The woman told me they were open every day from 11 to 11.
1240 St. Marc corner Tupper in the basement on the west side
Went there today and had three kinds of dumplings: lamb with coriander, pork and anise, and pork and seafood. All three were delicious but if i was forced to pick a favorite it would be the lamb.
To balance our meal with a healthier choice we had the beef salad. I have to admit that i never thought eating healthy would be so good. It was a heaping plate of beef strips. The beef had some tendon/cartilage/sinew (not sure exactly what it was) on some of the pieces that made it more delicious.
Finally we got a real salad of cabbage and carrots. The salad tasted of sesame oil and was a nice addition to the meal.
When we asked whether they had xiao long bao the lady said no but that all the dumplings they served were similar in that they had soup inside. We never did get around to asking what the difference between what she serves and XLB is. This was only my second taste of soup dumplings but i enjoyed them. Both times the skin was pretty thick though and i'm curious to try the thin skinned ones!
That beef salad was something else. It's cooked to the point where all the collagen is turned to soft gooey deliciousness, and the meat just melts in your mouth. It tasted like it had been rubbed with soy sauce and a few spices. It was pure beefy goodness. I really liked the pork and anise dumplings, as well. The hint of star anise really enhanced the pork flavour.
Everything we sampled was tasty and the service was so friendly and helpful. I'm sure I'll be going back as soon as I can to continue eating my way through their menu.
I've been to Qing Hua a couple of times now, and I highly recommend it. Last time we ordered the shrimp, zuchinni and egg boiled dumplings and they were fresh and delicious. The lamb and coriander ones have slurpalicious soup inside and are juicy and comforting. We also had a "green bean pudding" salad with cucumber and peanut sauce, which was cool and refreshing. The service was very friendly and helpful but a little slow. Over my lunch hour I'd prefer it to be a bit quicker. I love this place though and will definitely be going back often.
Oh, well the lady suggested we get the lamb ones steamed, so we did that. When I had the pork and mushroom ones I had them steamed as well.
We tried the pork and seafood ones boiled, as well as the shrimp, egg and zucchini ones.
Really it comes down to your personal preference I guess. The boiled ones come out kind of slippery and after sitting for a couple of minutes they develop a starchy film on the outside,
just an update:
i tried it last night. great dumplings but i found there wasn't enough variation of ingredients. while there were alot of choices, they were all very similar. they also had no beef last night which was a let down. the portion size of 14 or so dumplings is a bit much so i asked for a half order and she gladly did it for us.
also, the table next to us had fried dumplings which looked delicious and on the way out she told us we could order them fried next time! so looks like we won't have to wait until summer....
I finally tried the dumplings. Nice, very nice. They ain't the Xiaolongbao types that moh was looking for, the construction is very different. These have thicker wrappings, are flatter and have a higher meat/soup ratio; still they are juicy and soupy and the filling meat is tasty. I ordered the lamb coriander as it was recommended, and they had a nice balance of flavors and textures. Not the cheapest item in their menu, but lamb ain't cheap. My only beef is that my takeout order didn't come with any dipping sauce; not sure whether they forgot, or these babies don't come with sauce at all. Thankfully, the dumplings were tasty and juicy enough to survive without any adulteration. I'll definitely be back. Nice peeps too.
I think I might have seen you walk up St. Marc with your takeout order around 1:15 when I was heading there. Is that possible?
There was a guy getting take-out when I was there and he got sauce! I think you just have to ask for it.
Today I tried the "tofu and vegetable" soup which is very much like miso soup. I also had pork and mushroom steamed dumplings which had a nice strong black mushroom flavour. Very satisfying.