Location: 1581 NJ-27, Edison, NJ 08817
Foodgasms. Typically described as a food that’s so freaking good in your mouth that it gives you a feeling similar to that spine arching, toe curling sensation that rocks your world when you’re doing the yeehaw.
You’ve seen it enough on Food Network–for instance, whenever our ever favorite Guy Fieri chomps down on some crazy dish you wish you could eat too, his eyes roll back, he loses balance and has to clasp onto a nearby countertop to steady himself as it rocks his world. It must be really good, you think. (Could he be faking it?!) Who knows.
But when I went to Shanghai Dumpling House in Edison, NJ….folks, I finally experienced it. A foodgasm so real, that thinking about it makes my heart aflutter and my toes tingle. It was the real deal. It was…a dumplingasm.
We’d gone to Edison innumerable times for Korean BBQ at Picnic Garden, Hot Pot at Little Sheep, or even just the good ol’ swing around the Hmart foodcourt. But as of late whenever the topic of dumplings came up in our office (and yes, it comes up more than you would think), a coworker friend of mine raved about a hole in the wall soup dumpling place in Edison, New Jersey that supposedly had AMAZING soup dumplings (also known as xiao long bao 小籠包 in Chinese). Some of our favorite XLB restaurants are in Chinatown and Flushing, especially E Noodle House, but to have a good XLB place in New Jersey? Could I be dreaming?
So while on an errand in Piscataway, we thought, OK. Let’s try something new because we literally go to the same places over and over again.
And off we went to Shanghai Dumpling House.
Luckily, we got parking right out front and waited for about 10-15 minutes for two seats—turnover was pretty quick (although perhaps we were just lucky?) The restaurant was filled with Chinese customers—which was a good sign because that meant the food was probably authentic and yummy. We ordered crab roe pork soup dumplings, wontons in chili oil, spicy minced pork noodle soup, shanghai pan fried udon noodle, and scallion pancake beef roll. What can I say? We were hungry and ready to devour all the things.
The minced pork noodle soup had a generous helping of minced pork and the udon noodles had a good chew to them. Nothing makes me more sad than a mushy noodle, so in my book the restaurant was already off to a good start.
While the spicy minced pork noodle soup and the Shanghai pan fried udon noodles were standard for any Shanghainese eatery, the dishes that truly stood out against the rest were the pancake beef rolls, the wontons in chili oil as well as the crab roe pork soup dumplings.
The scallion pancake beef roll came first. The pancake was fried to a golden yellow crisp and was stuffed with scallions, beef and sweet bean/hoisin sauce. The pancake itself was crispy and at the same time fluffy as it enveloped the succulent slices of beef and sweet sauce.
Eating that beef roll felt like that Ratatouille moment when Anton Ego takes his first bite of Remy’s ratatouille dish and gets transported to his childhood memories. My first bite of that beef roll took me back to a scallion pancake stand on the side road of Yilan, Taiwan, a town that is renowned for their scallions. I could clearly remember the ridiculously fresh and fragrant scallion pancakes that emerged from the fryer and handed to me by a small Taiwanese auntie. Best thing about that memory? Not just plain frying oil, but lard. Mmmmm pig fat 💗🤤 So yes, definitely get the beef roll at Shanghai Dumpling House. Good stuff.
Next were the wontons in chili oil. This came out with a deliciously smooth peanut butter sauce and chili oil–the wontons had the perfect ratio of juicy pork to silk wonton skin and the nutty sauce and spice of the chili oil left me craving for more after every bite.
Next up were the famed soup dumplings. The server set down the steamer basket and I could almost hear angels singing as he lifted the basket cover to reveal them. Swathed in hot steam, the magical little dumplings emerged and looked plump and ready to be nommed.
Like virgins, we both started out biting into the skin of the dumpling with some hesitation—because it was piping hot and because what if…it wasn’t going to be as great as it was put up to be? What if…it was all just hype?
Yeah…it wasn’t just hype after all.
After the first taste, that hesitancy instantly disappeared. Despite being a million degrees fresh from the steamer, we pretty much lost all common decency and began chomping down on those juicy baby buns and slurping up the soup so fast, the world around us just faded away into oblivion. It was SO GOOD, guys. Like crazy good. Like foodgasm good.
The skin was thin and held so much richly flavored soup inside, I kept wondering if there was more to slurp up and was sad once it ran out. The pork filling had a wonderful marriage of land and sea as the extra umami flavor from the crab roe held hands with the pork and skipped down umami lane.
You know when something is so yummy that you want to eat it all for yourself, but then you also love your partner and want them to have more of it because it IS so yummy and you love them and want them to have more too? Well…I was so conflicted because I wanted more of the soup dumplings, but I knew Wilson liked them too…and I kept eyeing the last one, wondering if I should tell him to eat it or if I should eat it…but then I told myself, it’s okay, you need to control yourself and eat less (says the one who ordered a table full of food) when I said, “Honey do you want the last one?” he said, “You can have it, babe.” And you know how sometimes couples go back and forth like nooo you should have it, nooooo you should have it?
Yeah….nope. No pushing back and forth nonsense for these little dumplings….God they were so good 😋😋😋 And I felt so loved 😝😝
So if you’re ever in the Edison area hankering for some good ol’ Shanghainese food and xiaolongbao soup dumplings, go line up at Shanghai Dumpling House, you will not regret it!
Until next time,