Our Satisfying Dinner for Under $20.
The recent rainy weather seems to have increased our craving for steaming hot xiao long bao (xlb). On the recommendation of my sister, PB and I headed to Alexandra Village to check it out. It has been ages since I last stepped into Alexandra Village Food Center. It has been renovated and the place feels cleaner and much more airy and spacious compared to 5-10 years ago. The number of stalls seem to have increased too!
It was not difficult to locate the only xlb stall in the food center. Shanghai La Mian Xiao Long Bao is located in the center isle, right smacked in the center of the food center. You cannot miss it with its very attractive signage , stacks of steamers and long queues at the stall.
The menu is very simple. One page says it all. The pricing is also very reasonable too, definitely hawker pricing!
Placing the order is somewhat confusing. I do not know if they heard my order as the owners were busy walking to and fro in the kitchen, placing xlbs to steam, removing those that are done, preparing the pan for frying, etc. What amazed me was that they did get my order though they were so busy cooking. With only 2 pairs of hands, they worked really fast to dish out all the orders.
My basket of steaming hot Steamed Mini Buns 小笼包, 8 pieces for $4. The skin is so thin that you can see the meat and soup in each xlb. The folds on top may look thick but they are not hard. At almost half the price of Ding Tai Fung‘s xlbs, this is really value for money 🙂
The soup in the xlb is clear and sweet. It tasted of natural sweetness of stock boiled with sweet corn and then added into the xlb. Very clean and lovely.
Pan Fried Dumplings 锅贴韭菜鲜肉, 10 pieces for $5. These dumplings looked like they needed more time over the fire and more oil to make it crispier on the base.
The nicely steamed dumpling with the thin crisp base. Perhaps this is how people eat it back in China?
Close up of the morsel of meat and juice in the pan fried dumpling. Nice balance of chives and meat but we seem to taste sweet corn with every bite. Not too sure if it was from the stock. For people who does not like chives, this will be suitable for them. I prefer mine with more chives and if this dumpling was more crispy, I would definitely recommend it.
La Mian With Fried Bean Sauce 炸酱面, $3.50. This is one simple dish where the sauce has been prepared in advance with minced meat and drizzled over the freshly cooked hand pulled noodle, topped with thinly sliced, crunchy cucumbers.
The noodles are so smooth and silky and coated with the sauce, it was gone all so quickly. I wonder if the noodles are made at the stall as they looked so uniform – as if machine made! I like the texture of the noodles and they not stick to your teeth like some at other stalls do.
Sour And Spicy Soup 酸辣汤$2. Just the right size to complement your meal.
There were lots of beancurd, bamboo shoots, black fungus and mushroom in the soup but I wished that it could be more sour and spicy! The consistency was just nice but I added vinegar to up the sour factor but there was no chilli around to increase the spiciness level! Somewhat did not satisfy me in this rainy weather but my suggestion is you can still give it a try if you want something soupy. It is difficult to find something priced at $2 these days that can fill you up.
Throughout our meal, there was a constant queue at the stall made up of people of all ages and nationalities! This definitely say something about the quality of the food, doesnt it? 😀 If you want to get a quick fix of steaming hot dumplings without incurring service charge and GST, this is definitely one place you can go 🙂
Shanghai La Mian Xiao Long Bao 上海拉面小笼包
Blk 120 Bukit Merah Lane 1 #01-31
Alexandra Village Food Center