for my final US of A post, i’d like to showcase some final photos from new york chinatown. i enjoyed a wonderful few hours wandering the area solo with the bean, and then a round table dinner with a kickass crew of dumpling eaters.
irenebean and i started off with a serious case of the munchies. no illicit substances necessary, we pretty much always have the munchies. luckily we encountered paradise in front of us, also known as aji ichiban:
obviously, one is welcome to taste anything they like in munchies paradise. did you know paradise also includes super crunchy mini dried crabs that you eat whole?
paradise also has a huge variety of normalish sweets and candies, but let’s be honest, the really exciting munchies are related to those items found under the sea. for example, wasabi white sesame cod fish snacks really keep you on your toes.
for another interesting textural sensation, try dried hokkaido shredded squid. feels like uncombed wool yarn on your tongue, or so i’d imagine, having never eaten anything remotely resembling a sweater.
even outside of the actual munchies paradise store, the under-the-sea offerings abound. the streets of chinatown are like a marine biologist’s wet dream combined with a fear factor shopping excursion. below, assorted dried bull penises.
kidding. those are sea cucumbers. i bet you believed me though, because i’m sure you can get dried bull penis somewhere in chinatown. bull penis is much larger though, as i know from personal experience. NOT.
i also am intrigued by the availability of dried fish stomach. what does one do with these besides think of massively oversized bits of giant ear wax?
we’ll end with some normal dinner pictures, if your stomach has managed to make it through the photo album so far. i hit up joe’s shanghai on pell street for dinner with my favoritest new york peeps – lexi, dan, rachel, seth, and becky. these are some of my favorite people in the world, and people i always have to see and grab a meal with when in nyc. the six of us killed a whole bunch of xiao long bao, aka soup dumplings, one of my favorite edible items on the planet. these little steamed pouches of perfection are filled with little chunks of ground crab and pork swimming in a deliciously savory and meaty broth. helloooooooo beautiful.
the best way to avoid a mouthful of burningness is to release some of the molten hot soup from the dumpling before stuffing in your mouth, searing off all your taste buds, and spraying the table with little bits of still-steaming dumpling. this can be done by stabbing with a chopstick or nibbling off a corner, as in this informative cartoon by robert zimmerman, found on the joe’s shanghai website.
as zimmerman says, you can avoid the ralph wiggum ‘tastes like burning’ feeling of mouth pain by allowing your soup dumpling to bleed its meaty innards all over your spoon.
joe’s shanghai also has great braised pork shoulder, which they bring to you in a glistening mass and then slice up at the table with the blinding speed of a mighty ninja or jedi knight or chuck norris or whoever else has crazy weapons skills.
we had a couple of other delicious dishes, but i’ll end it with the less-than-stellar photo of the unattractively shiny spicy eggplant. however, i know you’re not even looking at the eggplant, because it’s obviously overshadowed by the blindingly good looks of my wonderful friend dan.
dan is one of my favorite eating companions, despite the fact that we spend a great deal of time amiably warring over the fact that i want to eat suckling pig and crispy duckling while he could happily survive on pizza and chocolate alone. i’m working on him though – soon enough he’ll be eating dried crabs, sea cucumber, and dried fish stomach out of my hands. or maybe i’ll just make a bull penis pizza when you come visit me. just you wait…