Monday, March 26, 2007

FuFu Cafe

CabbageLover and I grabbed a late dinner at FuFu Cafe at 9889 Bellaire on Friday. I was pining for xiao long bao and had heard it was on the menu.

CF first told me about xiao long bao years ago, but we could never find any in Houston. I finally had my first taste of it in 2005, at Joe’s Shanghai in New York City. I had just finished dim sum with two cousins and, as we left the restaurant, I realized we were just blocks from a location of the touristy chain. I suggested we go for its famous soup dumplings. My cousins – neither of them a regular dining partner of mine since we don’t live in the same city – thought I was crazy. Admittedly, we were all stuffed. But the sometimes-food-writer-in-me felt it was perfectly normal to visit one restaurant right after another (and another…). So they humored me and went along and we had a fun, delicious time eating too much.

My second taste was when CF and I went to Yank Sing in San Francisco in 2006. I was in town for a friend’s Berkeley wedding, but made sure I had a full day to devote to the foods of SF. It was just CF and me, but we got every piece of dim sum that appealed. I remember wishing we had ordered two portions of those dumplings; they were so good.

I knew not to get my hopes up for the xiao long bao in Houston. If they turned out to be decent enough for a quick fix, I would be happy.

They were. I do wish the dumpling wrappers had been thinner and as delicate as Yank Sing’s, but no complaints about the meat filling and savory broth inside.

CabbageLover and I also tried one of my favorite Chinese dishes, creamy honey walnut shrimp, along with pork lo mein and spicy Beijing noodles. The Beijing noodles were lacking in heat and too heavy on the peanut butter. At first glance, the roast pork and skinny egg noodles seemed utterly boring, but the broth was flavorful and the dish grew on us till the bowl was empty. The walnut shrimp were nicely cooked, but they were so heavily dressed in the mayonnaise-based sauce that I couldn’t truly enjoy the dish.

But back to my beloved dumplings. Next time I’m in L.A., I’m definitely trekking to Din Tai Fung. And you can bet that my trip to China later this year will be full of xiao long bao!

1 comment:

cf said...

sigh, we should have ordered another instead of that spinach dumpling. BLAH. you must make a trip to san francisco so we can make a trip to yank sing. just make a trip for XIAO LONG BAO! no second thought... just do it!