In Which there is a Fiery Spin on a Dumpling and Noodle Lunch…

The dumpling kitchen at work

The dumpling kitchen at work

It has been, to be perfectly honest, ages since I went and had a proper solo lunch. Most of the time, meals have had to be rushed thanks to deadlines; food purchased at convenience stores closest to the office.  Nourishing, yes; but wholly unsatisfactory in terms of flavour and quality.

Today, thank goodness, I was able to take a breather when I did some errands at lunch today.  I found myself traipsing down to the corner of 31st Street and 4th Avenue to Shi Lin, a dinky little restaurant that is justly famous for its xiao long bao.

Spicy vegetable and pork wontons

Spicy vegetable and pork wontons

Now, it sounds like sheer blasphemy to go to a restaurant famous for xiao long bao and not order those soup-filled dumplings, but that wasn’t the sort of thing I had a hankering for.  Truth be told, I wanted something spicy, but not too incendiary.  Fortunately, there was something right up my alley on the menu: spicy vegetable and pork wontons.

As shown above, these nifty little bundles come six to a bowl, drenched in a vivid, scarlet-hued pool of Szechuan-style pepper and garlic oil, and topped with squiggles and circles of finely-sliced fresh scallions.  Savoury and richly umami, these have none of the stodginess of most dumplings; these were nicely porky with a bit of crunch from the fresh veg (methinks there was a bit of jicama and chive involved).  Even the oil was nice: not too rich and flavourful enough to drizzle over…

Noodles with spicy sesame and peanut sauce

Noodles with spicy sesame and peanut sauce

…a bowl of noodles with spicy sesame and peanut sauce.  Kind of reminiscent of Malaysian satay sauce with its earthy, sweet, nutty, toasty flavour with a faint fiery tinge that lets you know that the chilli is still there, it’s an amazingly tasty and satisfying dish.  Drizzle over some oil from the dumplings, and you, dear reader, have a dish fit for a queen.

Are there any more of these?

Are there any more of these?

Shi Lin – Ground Floor – Commercenter, 4th Avenue cor. 31st Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig