Seester in China | Entry 12: Dumpling City

Xi'an: Jiao zi/dumplings

Xi'an: Jiao zi/dumplings

Xi'an: Jiao zi/dumplings

Xi'an: Jiao zi/dumplings

An Embarassment Of Dumplings

Tuesday Evening: Mike did some advance research and found a highly rated jiao zi (dumpling) restaurant, so it was to this establishment that we ventured forth for dinner. (No. 254 Youyi West Road, Xi'an, China, for those of you visiting.) In chinese, there are often many terms for what is essentially the same item. "Jiao zi" is one of about five or six descriptions for dumplings, specifically the steamed kind. "Guo tie" are also dumplings but pan fried (or "pot stickers", as the big noses call them) and "won ton" are dumplings in a broth. Bottom line: it's all how you cook at it. But they're all roughly the same thing.

Until you get to this restaurant. They claim to make over 200 varieties of dumplings. They probably do. When you order the evening's dumpling dinner (the menu changes nightly), your server is constantly replacing your bamboo steamers with fresh stacks containing a dizzying array of jiao zi.

Each tray contains two different types, enough for every person to have one of each. Our assortment of 18 contained a great variety of tastes and shapes: duck dumplings shaped like small ducks, chicken dumplings shaped like roosters (the crimped dough was even touched with red for the rooster's comb), dumplings shaped like flowers, money bags, sweet dessert dumplings filled with walnut paste, you name it.

For the final course, our server brought out a broth and presented us with a handful of tiny "pearl" jiao zi. As she added them to the bowl she explained that more jiao zi in your bowl meant more luck for you - one jiao zi for luck, two for luck and love, etc. Brian and I got five, combined, which may mean we're destined for triplets. But I'll have to keep you posted on that one.

Upon returning to the hotel we discovered an entire delegation of government representatives from Nepal leering at the two boppy singers in the bar, and called it a night.


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