You haven't lived until you've tried xiao long bao (pronounced show-lung-bow), the Chinese soup dumpling. If you translate it literally, it means "little basket steamed bun." And that's what they are! They're little cute baskets of steamed deliciousness. The only place I've been able to find them in San Diego is at Dumpling Inn on Convoy in Kearny Mesa.
Plus, you KNOW a place is good when there are regularly more people waiting outside than there are people eating inside. Exhibit A:
Let me set the scene for you folks. You finally sit down, starving. Nice waiters and waitresses bring you out plates of little baskets of heavenly goodness. The dishes are really cheap ($6-$7 each). And it's BYOB.
Done. Over. BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE!
How do you eat it if it's filled with soup, you ask. Trick is, you place it on a soup spoon (twisty side up), nibble off the top, sip a little of the soup, pour some of the vinegar/soy sauce/chili oil/ginger sauce over the top and then gobble. The flavors will blow your mind. You'll experience savory, tangy, and spicy components. Then the ginger will sort of harmonize those different intensities together really well.
Dumpling Inn has a bunch of other great dishes and dumplings. Xiao long bao is just my favorite. Plus, it's always a good time when you're able to share the love with dynamite people. In this case, my hunky honey and two love birds who are currently eating tarantulas in Cambodia. Ha, that's a whole different story for a different day. #jorgan
Did I mention this place is BYOB? Yup. Bring your own beer and they'll actually bring you a bottle opener. We don't know exactly, but our group believes the restaurant must do so well with food-wise they don't need/want to bother with liquor license headache stuff. So, they just started letting people bring their own booze. #NotLiable
With something this good though there's usually a catch. This Dumpling Inn will be no more in the next few weeks. It's moving to a bigger location literally a few dozen feet away. Good news: not as long as a wait to get a seat. Bad news: No BYOB, if I had to guess. I saw inside. They're building a bar.
Funny, growing up I hated Chinese food. Not so much because it wasn't good, but because my family ate it all...the...time. Not only did we eat it all the time, we ate at the same Chinese restaurant all...the...time. Where are we eating for Christmas? Mayflower. Where are we eating for Grandma's birthday? Mayflower. Where are we eating for Chinese New Year? Olive Garden. Ha...in a million years. Mayflower. I know, I sound like I was an ungrateful, well fed brat. I was. Still am, just not as well fed.
Next bloggity: from the steamed to the fried, my favorite place to get my nom nom on with Vietnamese fried egg rolls.