“At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done–then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.”
― Frances Hodgson Burnett,
Let me come to tell you, that the world waits in wonder for a table at Shanghai You Garden Dumpling House in Flushing, NY. Every time I have driven by, I was astounded to find hordes of people waiting for their turn to dine in this apparently, not too secret, Garden. Long a destination in The Chinese Quest’s Bucket List, we have never managed to make it there. But, I will call them to order and insist that we go in force and wait on line like everyone else.
Yuyuan Garden (as is the name of the restaurant in Chinese) is an extensive Chinese garden located beside the City God Temple in the northeast of the Old City of Shanghai, China. However the restaurant itself, Shanghai You Garden Dumpling House, is located at 135-33 40th Street, Flushing, NY 11354. It’s literally around the corner from both the Flushing Stations of the Long Island Rail Road and the subway (Main Street Station). Good luck trying to find parking. I would recommend finding a spot if you can in the municipal lot at the corner of Prince Street and 38th Street.
This past evening I went with my good friend Mee Ette Apparently, we learned when we were given a beeper that it is quicker for a party of two to be granted entry in to the Inner Sanctum than for larger parties. But, no matter the wait, I say it’s alright. For the pager we were told works in a one block radius. So rather than wait in a line, one is free to explore the neighborhood until you are beckoned. We only had to wait 20 minutes for our beeper to buzz.
The first thing you’ll notice when you walk in is the swarm of activity. Service staff buzzing all around. The buzzing of the beepers still going off as you’re led to your table, which is nearly drowned out the din of conversation and food consumption. I hesitate to call the staff waiters, for the moment we sat down any and all Staff stopped by impatiently asking if we were ready to order. And when you finally were ready, you pretty much had to give them your entire order. No trying two dishes… enjoying those, and then selecting more if you like. No, there’s a line waiting out the door, so they have to move plates!
A very nice surprise, which I’m sorry if I am ruining it for you — but, it’s something to look forward to no matter, and should be taken in to consideration when you place your order, is that every table gets a FREE order of Soup Dumplings! Now usually when someone tells me something is free, I always say “I’ll take two!”. But, we weren’t given that chance. In fact we weren’t even told (at least by the Wait Staff) that the dinner came with free dumplings. In fact there’s one more surprise coming at the end of the meal which I won’t ruin for you (at least not here…. you’ll have to read on!).
Now, on to the food and away we go!
Soup Dumplings – I did mention that they were free, didn’t I? And if you forget that they’re free, it states so on the bill! Well, just because they were free didn’t mean that they weren’t good. Quite the opposite indeed. The Soup Dumplings could stand up to any Soup Dumplings I’ve ever had. Caution: Contents ARE hot!
Shanghai Shao Mai – At first I didn’t know what to make of these. But after the second I bite, they won me over. Inside these dumplings were, to the best of my knowledge, sticky rice. With one pea on top (perhaps there’s some significance to the pea that someone can enlighten me on). Four in this serving (what we will do when the Five Mee’s come is anyone’s guess).
Scallion Pancakes with Sliced Beef – Questie Alert! I thought the Scallion Pancakes that we had at Kung Fu Xiao Long Bao were the best I ever ate. Slide those down the ratings and make room for the new best Scallion Pancakes with Sliced Beef! YUM! A Questie-worthy dish. Need I say more?
Pork Moon Cake – This is an item on the Breakfast Menu. They look like roast pork buns (Char Siu Bao) on the menu. But, they aren’t. Mee Ette always wanted to try this dish. So we ordered it. We didn’t even manage to finish one each. Save this dish for breakfast, but don’t order it for dinner. The Wait Staff refused for us not to take the remaining two home. I gave them to Mee Ette. Hey, it WAS her idea to order them. She “threatened” to discard them the first chance she had, but I wouldn’t let her. Until we got momentarily separated on the way to the Asian Supermarket to browse when I noticed that they were gone. I don’t think I believe her when she innocently said that they were knocked out of her hand. Hmm. What do you think really happened to them?
The Final Secret
Courtesy of Shanghai You Garden Dumpling House we were served a dessert soup. It is served warm. They said it tasted like (I couldn’t hear what he said because of the aforementioned din in the restaurant). Can someone please identify this Desert Soup for me?
The Bottom Line:
Shanghai You Garden Dumpling House is definitely Quest-worthy. When will we go? Well, there’s at least one secret I can keep!
By the way, the cost for this extravaganza (which included one can of Coke), with tax came to only $20.26 – Need I say any more?
Humbly submitted for your consumption,
—Mee Magnum (“Chop! Chop!”)