Off we went to Ala Shanghai. We just went to TRY the soup dumplings, and it took a large amount of self control to order only those, but we did a good job. We did end up ordering some red bean pastry type thing (they were out of turnip) and it was a good starter snack for the other snack. A pre snack, if you will.
I have to say, they were unlike anything I have ever had. I love me some steamed dumplings and these were like steamed dumplings filled with delicious, soupy goodness. The Crab and Pork were the ones we went for, and they were a true tastesplosion - like nothing else I had ever eaten. Because of E's
Great snack! Wow. The soup was almost kind of thick and very full flavored and the meat dumpling was moist and awesome. They are beautiful to look at and fun to eat. And the wait staff was really nice (even though they thought it was kind of weird that those were all we ordered).
After we left we went to the Big Red Asian Market on Central to see if they had anything like them. They did! They have ONE KIND of soup dumplings in their freezer section. We haven't tried them yet (and are willing to bet that they aren't quite as good as Ala Shanghai) - but in a pinch...
OH! OH! SOUP DUMPLINGS UPDATE FRESH FROM OUR GOOGLE CHAT CONVO:
Elizabeth: oh by the way: soup dumplings in NYC.
Elizabeth: we stumbled across a 'famous' soup dumpling joint in our last hours there so went spontaneously and split an order of pork dumplings- a whole different league
me: no way! howso?
Elizabeth: first... made fresh right there for you, def. not frozen
Elizabeth: the wrappers were so thin they almost seemed translucent, dumplings were a wee bit bigger, it was like a very precarious water balloon, there was so much soup in them
me: holy moly. we had the albany version
Elizabeth: yes. 6.75 for an order of 6, btw. i think crab and pork was a couple bucks more but we stuck with pork. there was no way to bite the top off either. it was totally poke a hole in the side and slurp it out. too much soup to let it drain into the spoon, too. but they did have wee spoons in the vinegar so you could spoon some on to the drained dumpling
me: wowwwwwwwwwwwwwww cool.
Yep. E and I even googlechat about food. I kind of think we might have been separated at birth sometimes. While I am sure the NYC soup dumplings were amazing, the ones we had were very solidly good and worth a try. The menu is pretty big so go with an appetite. Or just go and just get those and watch the waiters shake their head at you.
(picture from Tablehopping blog because I was too excited to take a picture when we ordered them...)