Joe’s Shanghai offers the best in Chinese cuisine

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Chinese food is one of the most popular cuisines worldwide. There are restaurants on practically every street so finding the good stuff can be difficult.  Joe’s Shanghai serves some of the best not only in New York, but internationally.

Joe’s Shanghai was created in Flushing in 1995. The restaurant has received many awards and praises over the years by acclaimed reviewers from The New York Times and Zagat. I visited the original location and from what I ate, it is certainly deserving of such merits.

The restaurant is most known for their “xiao long bao,” which is the Chinese name for decadent “Pork Steamed Dumplings.” As soon as you enter the restaurant, the waiter will ask you if you want to order it, and it either comes with pork or with crab meat. It is served in a large, traditional bamboo steamer, so you get a bit of a show with your meal. The dumpling’s soft, chewy handmade dough perfectly complements the filling. The dumpling is filled with a soup that tenderizes the pork making it soft and giving it an exquisitely seasoned flavor. To make it even better, you can also dip the dumplings in black vinegar, which comes with the dish. The one downside is that it may take awhile to make these dumplings, especially during busier hours, but that’s how you know its worth it.

An appetizer that I tasted was the “Scallion Pancake,” which is a fried Chinese style pancake. The scallions bring a wonderful aroma, and adds an appetizing onion flavor. The pancake is golden brown and crunchy on the outside, but soft and moist on the inside. Though they are sometimes excessively oily, it is still a great intro to the entree.

Another dish that I tried was the “Shredded Pork with Pickled Cabbage Noodle Soup.” The noodles and pork are soft because of the fact that they are fresh and handmade. The pickled cabbage adds a unique, slightly sweet and savory flavoring to the soup. It’s perfect for sharing with friends and brings comfort to anyone who eats it.

A delightful sweet to order is the “Steam or Fried Mini Bun” which is “man tao” in Chinese. I opted for the fried buns, and though they are labeled under the appetizers list of the menu, they come with sweet condensed milk for dipping. This little treat is similar to a munchkin, but even better. Its golden shell is crispy, but the inside is fluffy and scrumptious. One does not simply walk out of Joe’s Shanghai without ordering this.

Other foods on the menu that are worth mentioning include “Wine Chicken,” which is boiled chicken that is then marinated in wine and served as a cold appetizer. “Hong Kong Style Hot and Sour Soup” is a delicious comfort food that is both tangy, spicy and sour, that makes for a unique soup. The soup contains a variety of Chinese staples like tofu and edible fungus. “Singapore Chow Mei Fun” is a sensational vermicelli noodle that is stir fried in curry and mixed with various meats. They also have “Fried Rice Cake” which is cooked differently than the Korean style; it is stir fried in soy sauce and comes with a choice of either pork, chicken, beef, or vegetables.

The location I went to had a traditional appearance. The tables have a fancy, ancient Chinese design. Hygiene wise, the restaurant is not the cleanest; when I sat down I realized that the old plate I was given had a leftover food stain on it. The service is friendly though. Immediately the waiter saw that my plate was dirty and switched it without being asked.

One of the best features of this restaurant is that the food can be inexpensive depending on what you order; the dumplings and noodles were only about $5 per dish, and the buns and pancake were each about $3. If you’re in the city, Joe’s Shanghai also has a couple of other locations: one in Chinatown and the other in Midtown. It even has several locations in Japan.

Most people always say that they love Chinese food because they love the egg rolls and rice with chicken and broccoli that they can get from those tiny American Chinese restaurants, but little do they know that there is so much more to the cuisine. For anyone who wants to eat real, delicious Chinese food, I recommend Joe’s Shanghai.