Shu Mai at the Shu Mai at New Town Bakery and Restaurant
I really liked the New Town Bakery and Restaurant down in the heart of in Vancouver’s Chinatown. It isn’t an upscale dining establishment, by any means, but I had some wonderful dishes there, including their Steamed Ribs with Black Beans, which were about the best I have ever had. Like those ribs, the Shu Mai at the Newtown Bakery and Restaurant weren’t especially pretty, but they really tasted great.
The front end of the Newtown Bakery and Restaurant is the Bakery section, and the people at the left of the above picture lining up at the counter are there to purchase bakery products. There is table seating up front too, but I sat in the much larger restaurant section at the rear. It is, as I say, not a high-end place, with Formica tables, and designed to be functional rather than providing plush ambience.
One of the specialties here is steamed, stuffed buns, and, at the right of this picture, you can see a young woman tending to one of the large steamers stacks that produces them.
Here you can see some of the aforesaid steamed buns. It is a little hard to get an idea of the scale in this picture, but the things are about the size of baby’s heads. I would like to have tried one but they really are outrageously large and, had I done so, I wouldn’t have been able to manage much else. I wanted to come back later and try them as they did look, and smell terrific, but, alas, it didn’t happen.
Anyway, to get to the Shu Mai, they were not the prettiest I have seen but they were very good indeed. The size, which was just right for a mouthful is exactly the way I like them, as I find the humongous ones a little unwieldy with chopsticks, and I dislike trying to take separate bites rather than just popping them into my mouth.
The wrappers here were nicely thin, and they did have the yellowish color that some Shu Mai have, although, in this case, it did come out as rather greenish in hue. The filling was nothing more than lightly seasoned pork (just a little white pepper, I think), but it was juicy, with a nice ‘springy’ texture, and really didn’t need anything else like Soy Sauce, or Red Chili Oil.
The one curious thing about these particular Shu Mai was the yellow substance on top of the filling. In many Shu Mai versions, this is Crab Roe, or, as a pale imitation of that, very finely diced carrot. This, though, looked for all the world like melted processed cheese, but it clearly wasn’t and, to this day, I have no idea what it was. Still, it may not have had any particular flavor, and was thus only decorative, but it certainly didn’t diminish what were very decent Shu Mai.