Saturday, June 02, 2007

Dragon-I @ QueensBay Mall

Have been a sucker for Shanghai Small Dumplings ever since I had one at Genting - how succulent and finely made cuisine... Also the fact that I missed out the opportunity to sample the famous Shanghai small dumpling offerings at Dragon-I the last time we went One Utama at KL :(

Fret not as it finally landed in Penang - Queesnbay Mall! I dragged my bf there yesterday as I claimed my day off and he had replacement holiday for Agung's birthday which falls on 2nd of June (Sat). So off we went in the afternoon and shocked to see the restaurant almost 90% full with people! HelllooooO!!! Don't they have to work? The restaurant just opened I think a week or two ago but I heard that on a normal weekend day, you will definitely get caught up with the long queues in front of the restaurant waiting to be seated. We're lucky to be able to just walk-in and ushered to a vacant table :)

A bit of background on the outlet... It actually occupied 2 lots combined right on the curve of one of the floors in the mall itself (view from outside):-

The entrance:-
The open kitchen very much visible to anyone standing right in front of the restaurant, with the chefs busy making fresh Shanghai small dumplings with their skillful hands and fingers:-
I was so excited.. Checking the place out... taking pictures... so here's how the environment looked like inside:-

Notice the ancient soldier-like statues placed along its main corridor - they looked kinda freaky framed up like this though:-
This is the typical set up on each table (notice the chopsticks with dragon-I wordings at the base as well):-
These are the condiments placed on a turnable plate - soya sauce, vinegar, chilli and toothpicks:-
There's a flipper thingy on each table adorning highlights of the restaurant or promotions etc:-
The mango dessert thingy looks so tempting eh?

We just went there to sample both of their signature dishes - Shanghai small dumpling and Ramen so we ordered the dumplings and a pork rib ramen, with a herb drink for my bf and a chinese sea coconut with water chestnut dessert. After they key in your orders, you will have your order slip placed on the table and they will cross out whatever that has been served one by one:-
This is my sea coconut/water chestnut dessert, full of goodies:-
And this is the long awaited Shanghai Small Dumplings!
Notice how the bamboo steam basket is layered with veggies at the bottom before placing the dumplings... when we used our chopsticks to grab hold of the delicate and fragile dumpling up, we can see the soup within - awesome! I was thinking on a way to eat this without wasting any of the soup so i placed it on the spoon then bit on it.... ooooooh the soup just come rushing onto my tongue... check out the inside of the dumpling with soup:-
The specialty of Shanghai small dumpling lies in the fact that the dumplings are much like 'paos' - but it's small (obviously) and the difficult part is in how to make the dumpling in a way that the skin is very thin and translucent but at the same time able to hold the soup generated upon steaming of the dumplings - as the soup itself is the main essence of Shanghai small dumplings.

You can actually find the background history from the back of the wet towel packet itself:-
"Xiao Long Bao or commonly referred to as "Soup Dumplings" is one of the finest Chinese delicacy.The exact origins of Xiao Long Bao is unknown, but they first appeared in Northwest of Shanghai, at least 100 years ago. This ubiquitous little bundle of joy is indigenous to almost every culture.

As you arefully pick up one up with your chopsticks, you could literally see the weight of the soup stretching the translucent skin down. The best Xiao Long Bao has skin so thin yet it has enough elasticity to hold the delicate balance of dough, soup and meat in it."

Need I say more? :-P

Ok enough of the dumplings, let's move on to the 2nd highlight - Ramen!
There is a reason that they give you a huge soup ladle for you to enjoy your ramen - coz you can really taste the essence of the soup base when you gulp them by big ladles - eventhough the look of the ramen is not that appetising at all, but both my bf and I can assure you that this is reaaaaaaaaaaalllyyyyyyyyyyyy good stuff - the waitress will ask if you would like her to cut the ramen and we said yes (good choice) coz the ramen spans very long if not cut - the texture is just right - not too thick, not too thin - not too tangy and not too soft. The soup base is.... to die for I tell ya - my bf is normally not a soup type of guy but he was like draining the whole bowl of soup off! :-O

The bill came to about RM 40 - a bit pricey but it the food was indeed good - living up to Dragon-I's reputation.

It's going to be a new bright day.. ahead