Any student of Los Angeles ethnic cuisine knows that the best dumplings in So. Cal are at Din Tai Fung’s outpost in Arcadia. So I was pleasantly surprised when my informal poll of Shanghaioans on the best dumpling house resulted in the answer Din Tai Fung. Although there are many locations in Shanghai, we went to the one at Xintiandi, an outdoor shopping and dining mall as western as they come.
The food was as expected, simple and amazing. Apps included (1) bean curd with black mushroom and soybean and (2) sautéed pea sprouts. The xiaolongbao included mini-soup with pork, chicken with black truffle (sublime), and mushrooms. We also got some pork and shrimp shu-mai, vegetable filled bao, and for desert, bao with red bean paste and with juju paste.
The Mutianyu Great Wall was built up by General Xuda, who served Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang in the early Ming Dynasty (1386-1644AD). This scenic spot is hugged by mountains and a beautiful, serene atmosphere. Stretching 20 gates over about 7KM, Mutianyu provides a moderate to hard hike which is perfect for working up an appetite for some delicious Beijing-style noodles.
Nestled in the crevice of the mountains below the Great Wall, Xiaolumian is exactly what its name says, a friendly little hut for noodles. We ordered the sampler, which is basically everything on the menu. It included 3 types of noodles (spinach, egg and flour), many kinds of meat and vegetarian sauces (bean paste with pork, sesame & peanut, mushroom, eggplant & hot peppers, egg & peppers, chicken & ginger), two kinds of dumplings (egg & chive and pork & cabbage) and a bunch of fixings and toppings.