Friday, April 9, 2010

Hu Chiang Dumpling House--Cupertino, CA

Maybe about five years ago HC Dumpling House served perhaps the most authentic Shanghainese cuisine from the mid-Peninsula southward. Dishes such as their crab xiao long bao, chicken soup and crystal shrimp were all exquisite. However, over the past few years the restaurant went through at least two changes in management and today’s lunch demonstrated as much.

At the HC Dumpling House of old, chicken soup was prepared in individual covered bowls, which were then served directly to the diner. This resulted in a broth rich in flavor and chicken that was fall-off-the-bone tender. This afternoon, though, it was clear that the soup was ladled into the bowl. The broth, though acceptable and with ginger root added, lacked the rich medicinal flavor that I was used to. As for the crystal shrimp, instead of using small freshwater shrimp, today’s shrimp was large and slightly underdone. The two baskets of xiao long bao—one with crab the other beef—were also far too large (nearly three inches in diameter) to be considered authentic. However, the filling was delicious for both and each bao packed hot soup, requiring one to eat the large dumpling in one bite.

Our drunken chicken appetizer, served cold, was tender but salty. The shredded potato with bell pepper packed a punch with jalapeno peppers. It was good on its own but it was the only dish we chose not to finish.

Despite the noticeable drop from the HC Dumpling House of a few years ago, I would still return. They have an extensive menu and there are other dishes worth trying (such as the lion’s head). Besides, for me to hold out for that ultra-rare xiao long bao that has everything right—the size, the soup, the skin, the folds, the crab—just isn’t being fair to myself.

Hu Chiang Dumpling House

10877 North Wolfe Road
Cupertino, CA 95014

(408) 873-4813