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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

HC Dumpling (Cupertino)

Are you hungry for Xiao Long Bao?

Xiao Long Bao at HC Dumpling in Cupertino

Hu-Chiang Juicy Pork Dumplings at HC Dumpling in Cupertino

We had just finished shopping at the farmer's market and were looking for a place to eat lunch.  I remembered that one of our friends recommended this place in Cupertino Village on Wolfe Rd called HC Dumpling.  She said that their xiao long bao were pretty good, on par with the world-famous Din Tai Fung xiao long bao.  We hadn't had xlb in a while, so we decided to check them out.

In case you don't know what xiao long bao are, here's a little background. They are a Chinese steamed dumpling made of a smooth, translucent skin and a filling, usually meat.  The dumpling is unique in that a little gelatinized broth is added to the filling before it is sealed. The steaming process causes the gelatin to melt, filling the xiao long bao with broth and giving it that characteristic shape.

To eat a xiao long bao, you gently lift the dumpling up with your chopsticks, then slide the Chinese soup spoon under it to cradle the dumpling.  Top the dumpling with a little slivered ginger dipped in Chinkiang black vinegar, and lift it to your lips.  On the first bite, you want to slurp all that broth out of the dumpling.  Then eat the rest.

Hu-Chiang Juicy Pork Dumpling at HC Dumpling in Cupertino 

Xiao Long Bao at HC Dumpling in Cupertino

Our waitress also suggested her favorite dumpling, the Loofa Squash (sequa) and Shrimp dumpling. Our friend had also mentioned this dumpling as her favorite.

Loofah Squash and Shrimp Dumpling from HC Dumpling in Cupertino

 Loofah Squash and Shrimp Dumpling from HC Dumpling in Cupertino

The loofah squash dumpling was quite interesting.  It tasted green and fresh and sweet.  It was far more enjoyable than the HC Juicy Pork dumpling that I found to be unexciting and oily.  The only drawback was, there were very few pieces of shrimp in the dumpling, and those pieces were miniscule.

Loofah Squash and Shrimp Dumpling from HC Dumpling in Cupertino

Loofah Squash and Shrimp Dumpling from HC Dumpling in Cupertino

Besides dumplings, we also ordered some other dishes.  We ordered the Shanghai Fried Fat Noodles, which all of us enjoyed.  This Bitter Melon Sauteed with Egg was intriguing.  It seems that they took hard boiled egg yolks, crumbled them into tiny pieces, and fried them along with the bitter melon slices.  Pretty tasty product, but a bit oily toward the end.

Bitter Melon with Sauteed Egg at HC Dumpling in Cupertino

Bitter Melon with Sauteed Egg at HC Dumpling in Cupertino

Overall, I'd say I'm neutral about this restaurant.  Regarding the xiao long bao here, I've had better elsewhere.  The loofah squash dumpling was good, but didn't deliver on the shrimp.  The bitter melon was intriguing but too oily.  Service was all right, but Daniel called the bathroom "stinky".

I don't think we'll be back.  If you want to give this place a try, find them on the Wolfe Rd side of Cupertino Village. (Just so you know what side of the square to stalk for parking ;-) )

HC Dumpling in Cupertino

HC Dumpling in Cupertino

Do you have a favorite place for xiao long bao? Share it with the rest of us in a comment!

Aloha, Nate

Hungry for more dumplings? Click below:

Gum Kuo Restaurant (Oakland)

Dim Sum @ Dynasty Restaurant (San Jose)

Pan-fried gyoza


Won Ton Char Siu Loh Mein


Zurin said...

Hi Annie! Love ur blog! I just tagged u! please check out my blog for details OK!

Christelle said...

OMG, that's so cruel, first thing in the morning, I soooooo hungry now!!

I've been thinking about making them, The soup is placed in as jelly, it only turns soup after wards. Remains to get the right flavours..

jesse said...

Aww, nostalgia!!! I miss xiao long baos soooo much! I think my favourite ones are from Crystal Jade Kitchen in Singapore... I've tried the ones at Din Tai Fung in LA, but they just can't compare. These look amazing though, yum!!!

Ramya Vijaykumar said...

Bitter Melon fillings for a dumpling mmm that sounds really good... am feeling hungry now...

mysimplefood said...

Your pics are turning out great...what camera?

Anonymous said...

So if not HC Dumpling, where would you go local (around San Jose) for Xiao Long Bao? I need to try them now :)

Anonymous said...

Dumplings and dim sum are some of the foods that I wish I could eat more of, but never get a lot of chances to. I might have to take Rose here with me the next time we're in the area...

How did you like the bitter melon dish? The last time I had bitter melon was with beef at a local restaurant back in Monterey.

tigerfish said...

This place is packed during weekends!
I think I am neutral to their XLB cos there are better ones around.

Single Guy Ben said...

I, too, want to know where the best XLB can be found! I tried Shan Dong recently in Oakland and it was such a disappointment. So far, the only places that I've liked have been at the dim sum houses like Koi Palace.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, I am hungry for this! These are really addicting and dangerous. i just can't stop eating them!

choi yen said...

xiu long pao is my favourite!!!

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@zurin - thanks!

@Christelle - heheh. What recipe will you use? We're wanting to make our own XLB as well.

@Jesse - Yeah, you know for all the hype of DTF, I think there are better ones to be found in S'pore and M'sia.

@Ramya - actually, the dumpling was filled with loofah squash (sequa). But you know, bittermelon filling might be tasty!

@mysimplefood - thanks! It's the Canon Digital Rebel XT.

@Mrs. L - I'd like to know as well! Maybe try Dynasty Restaurant, either the Cupertino or the San Jose location.

@Lando - we liked the bittermelon dish, but found it to be too oily at the end.

@tigerfish - actually, this *was* on Saturday at noon. Prime lunch hour. Other restaurants in Cupertino Village had lines out the door. At HC Dumpling, no crowd. Makes me wonder if they have seen better days.

@Chef Ben - I haven't yet been to Koi Palace. It's time!

@whiteonricecouple - where's the best place in OC for XLB?

@mimid3vils - when done well, they can be really, really good.