Friday, June 23, 2006

Hu-Chiang Dumpling House, Cupertino

Yesterday, the co-workers and I were wandering around the Cupertino Village strip mall, which is full of all sorts of Asian eateries. It was hot and we needed to make a decision quickly. We didn't feel like going to Joy Luck again. We walked into a restaurant that smelled bad, so we quickly walked out. And then I remembered a place that Catie had written to me about a couple of months ago: the Hu-Chiang Dumpling House. So that's where we went -- and I'm so glad we did!

The dining room isn't very large, but the tables are packed in pretty tightly. The slipcovered chairs dress up the space a little bit, but there's still not much that stands out about the decor here. The service is friendly and efficient. And if you go for lunch, don't come too late. When we sat down around noon, about one-third of the tables were still empty. By the time we left, there were folks waiting around.

After her visit to the Hu-Chiang Dumpling House, Catie had nothing but good things to say about the crab dumplings -- which happened to be one of the items we ordered. She was right; they were great. (She also mentioned that the dipping sauce is "a tad vinegary" -- again, I agree with her.) The crab dumplings and the Hu-Chiang juicy dumplings were both of the soupy variety, which I believe is considered Shanghai-style. You've got to eat these in one bite, or else you'll lose some of that juicy goodness. And the wrapper is quite thin, so be careful when you pick them up or else they may fall apart. The pork and cabbage dumplings were less soupy, and therefore, less favored by my lunch companions and me. One of my co-workers grew up in Hong Kong, and he would not stop raving about the juicy dumplings (he's already talking about going back next week).

Now, that brings me to the one thing at our table that I would definitely not order again: the soup with "fresh and salty meat." The meat turned out to be extremely fatty pork. The broth for the soup was fine, but I couldn't handle all that fat. The one co-worker who ended up eating most of the soup later got sick. I'm convinced it was that soup. So I wouldn't go there.

Oh, and another warning: The dumplings are ridiculously hot when they're brought to you. But they're worth it, even if you burn your mouth.

Hu-Chiang Dumpling House
10877 North Wolfe Road
Cupertino, CA
(408) 873-4813