Whenever you get Chinese food in the states, or anywhere for that matter, what is the succulent dipping sauce you always receive with your meal? Soy sauce! My ignorant mind figured it would be the same here, but that’s not the case at all. Don’t be deceived, when you ask (or mime) for sauce you will encounter something that looks similar to soy sauce, but watch out!!! It’s vinegar. If you truly enjoy soy sauce, like I do, you will have to learn how to say soy sauce in Chinese. There is no amount of sign language and no number of times or speed with which you can say “sooooy saaaauuuuce” that will help to bring the beloved liquid to your lips. Chinese lesson #1: Soy Sauce = Jiàngyóu (酱油). Enjoy that little tidbit of knowledge.2. Fried little bundles of joy
If you are looking for something to dip, other than yourself in a pool (SO humid!) I would strongly recommend Fried Dumplings or “Shēng Jiān Bāo” (生煎包). These little dough balls are normally filled with a pork mixture, and a searing hot liquid whose primary mission is to scorch the be-jesus out of your mouth. Since arriving in China, I have become a connoisseur, if you will, of these tasty little morsels and will pass my knowledge on to you. The best dumpling I have had in Shanghai was not from any fancy restaurant, but instead a small shop called Yang’s Fried Dumplings. If you are from Shanghai or have ever been to Shanghai, I am sure you have heard of it. But if you haven’t, it can be difficult to find if you don’t know what you’re looking for. While hunting for Mr. Yang, we came across a small shop with the same address. We could not believe it was the right place, but after a few minutes of broken Chinese, and a good deal of acting (I’d like to thank the Academy …), we knew it was our destination. The dumplings cook in a sizzling black pan over an open fire, which is spun every minute or so. Because of the size of the store, the chef had to stand almost on the sidewalk to work his magic on the dumplings. But don’t be fooled by its quaint appearance, Yang’s grills ‘em up better than anyone around!3. Got to start with an appetizer!
While dumplings are most delicious with a side of soy sauce (Editor’s note: even better with vinegar), there is one appetizer that is fantastic all by itself. If you have been to a restaurant in China, there is a good chance you have tried this tasty creation, but if you haven’t … well, you have to try them. This flattened slice of heaven can be recognized with a simple analogy; just imagine a delicious bacon pizza (American not Canadian bacon, come on now). In this Chinese version, the dough can be equivocated to the dough of the pizza with scallions acting as a delectable substitute for bacon with a layer of sesame seeds subbing in for the cheese. This scallion pizza (or as I like to call it, “scallzone”) brings any Chinese meal together with a crispy, flavorful crunch. Even if the rest of the meal doesn’t appeal to you, you can always fill your belly with the scallzone!-Chris