The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Chinese, Indian, and



Sometimes I wish I could know when I'm going to die. It's just that kind of day.

lil' dumps and other Chinese things

Shanghai Tide
a tide of Shanghai

Upon JJ's recommendation, Lee Anne and I trekked to Shanghai Tide for a late lunch/early dinner on Tuesday afternoon. This was following a session of ice skating at Rockefeller Center, after which I can say that I don't particularly enjoy strapping thin metal blades onto the soles of my feet on which I slowly glide over the ice with the grace of a bloated whale...who can't skate. I was also unaware, due to being holed up in my "warm as a malfunctioning sauna that is even warmer than a normal sauna should be" apartment, that the weather had dropped maybe 50 degrees in one day (which would explained why the heat was turned on at full blast, 24/7, resulting in slowly steamed Robyn), meaning that I hadn't dressed up as warmly as I should have.

How do you brighten your mood in this kind of situation? With LITTLE DUMPS.

lil soup dumps!
mm, soupy

These little dumps are steamed, thin-skinned blobs filled with fat-tastic burning hot soup and balls of ground pork. Thumbs up.

fried dumps plop innards
mm, fried

These little dumps are endearingly spherical, pan-fried, thick, chewy skinned globules filled with the same tasty balls of ground pork. More thumbs up.

veggie dumps
mm, non-porked

These steamed little dumps are not very cute, but their chopped cabbage bellies make them vegetarian friendly. I LIKE EM. More thumbs in the upward position.


The check also gets a thumbs up. They have some kind of dumpling special that makes them...pretty damn cheap. For $12.50 we consumed 24 handmade dumplings. Oh baby, how full I was. "Haul me out on a pallet truck" full. A full sized pallet truck, not one of those hand held thingies.

Eating with Lee Anne was particularly memorable because she's one of the friendliest people in the world and became chummy with the friendly Chinese waiters, asking where they were from and whatnot. In case you don't already know, I cannot understand nor speak Mandarin despite being brought up by two natives from Taiwan and briefly living in Taiwan between 1996 and 1998 (during which I went to an international school, so don't look at me like that). Although Lee Anne attributes her comparative ease with learning Chinese to having spent a year in Taiwanese public school when she was little, I know her brain is about five times larger than her skull (nature somehow packed it in) and she would've learned it eventually anyway. She's too passionate and dedicated of a person to somehow not learn it. She also spent the previous school year abroad in China talking to...Chinese people.

If I could, I'd eat with her at every Chinese restaurant possible. And non-Chinese, of course, because I like spending time with her. However, the way life likes to work out for me is to give me really good "I love to eat" friends who don't live anywhere near me. It's a hell of a lot better than nothing, but my 10 years of making friends from afar has shown me that in a non-Internet world I would have almost no friends. Maybe I'm not supposed to have friends. That would explain it.

a bunch o stuff
little things add up in the belly

But I actually do have some friends in my hometown, or at least one. On Sunday for lunch I met up with Aliza, one friend whom I've gone to school with since 8th grade who lives about a 3 minute drive away from my house (no one walks in NJ, foo'). She's kind of like Lee Anne in that she's insanely smart (majoring in Arabic...alrighty), has a Robyn-compatible sense of humor, and likes to eat. I suppose that description could apply to many people (except for the "majoring in Arabic" part, for which she spent a year in Cairo for), but Aliza is unique. Truuust meee. She's also looked the same since 8th grade, which may or may not be scary. I'll just say she's "youthful".

We went to Ridgewood, the closest culinary haven, for dim sum, a perfect thing to eat on a Sunday afternoon. Despite being in an area where few Chinese people live, Dim Sum Dynasty does good business. And makes tasty food. Mmm hm.

fried taro thing innards
fried taro thing!

We started off with these fried taro cake things, which most resemble hash browns if they were made of shredded taro instead of potato and had bits of shrimp hidden in the center. SURPRISE: YOU'VE GOT PRAWNS! It was my first time eating these fried taro pancake things, but I must get them again because they made my taste buds tingle with glee know, they were delicious. Yes, that's what I meant to say.

spring rolls
rolls of spring

The spring rolls were standard. Filled with your regular gloopy vegetable matter. Know what I mean? Maybe not? Okay. Let's move onto something more exciting.

fried crab dumpling things innards!

I think I impulsively plucked these fried crab meat-stuffed wontons off the dim sum cart (actually, everything was impulsive). Very crispy, not oily, well filled with meat stuffs but not too heavy.

shrimp and stuff
shrimp and stuff

I don't know the exact name for these dumplings, but they're stuffed with chives and shrimp and are adorably ploppy, which to me make them more desirable for eating. Although har gow are one of the most typical dim sum dishes, the magic is a bit lost on me since I don't love shrimp. I find the combination of shrimp and chives in the nearly transluscent dumpling skin more enjoyable.

turnip cakes

Turnip cakes are one of my most favorite Chinese foods. I have no idea why. I also have no good description for you aside from that they taste like...turnip cakes. They're generally servced with oyster sauce, but I like them plain in their chewy, slighty crunchy, miniscule shrimp-speckled glory.

sticky rice, mmm
sticky rice

Another one of my favorite Chinese foods is sticky rice steamed in a lotus leaf. If, like Aliza you've never had dim sum or sticky rice before, you have to unwrap the leaf before you eat it. (Hey, she didn't know! I'm being helpful.) In the middle of the bundle of sticky joy there were chunks of sweet pork sausage. The best kind of sausage. So good and full of fatty flavor that you can taste the days being shaved off your life expectancy with every bite. This is another one of those foods that I don't know how to describe—all I can do is endorse it after having eaten it for at least 15 years. It's a good thing no one is paying me to write about food because...well, they wouldn't. "This tastes good; trust me!" ain't really an eye opener.

But you should trust me. Yeah.

Indian food and stuff

Although I like Indian food, I rarely eat it. Because...I have no idea why. I could say the same about Vietnamese food and Korean food. There are loads of choices in NYC for all these cuisines, yet I rarely try them. What the hell do I eat on a regular basis anyway? (Baked goods.)

Now that I live a short walk from Curry Hill I have no excuse to not live on/breathe in Indian food every day. But I'm not, because I like oxygen. Instead I will aim to try the best places, so get those recommendations rolling if you have any up your sleeve...stomach...intestinal tract...etc.

rice, glorious fluffy foodstuff

Nathan and I randomly went to Curry Leaf for dinner on Wednesday night to try something out in my neighborhood. If you peek through a crack in their review-plastered windows, you will see...mostly darkness. They like the dim lighting or have an aversion towards too many lumens, hence my flash-tastic photos. The pot of fluffy, aromatic long-grain rice wasn't ginormous, but we couldn't finish it out of lack of stomach space. I guess it's denser than it looks. I hate it when I can't eat lots of rice; it's so damn tasty. [sigh]

Malabar Fish Curry
fish curry

I ordered Malabar Fish Curry, "made with Freshly Ground Coconut and Array of Masterfully Blended Spices". I really wish I knew what those mastefully blended spices were since there was no way in hell I could've identified them, but I guess they were blended masterfully enough for me to enjoy the blend of masterfullness. I don't know what I'm talking about. Oh god. The fish may have been salmon, but I actually don't remember. "Generic Fish." Whatever it was, I liked it. The little metal bowl didn't look like a hell of a lot, but it was surprisingly filling. Like that rice bowl. Deceptively small looking. I'm not writing completely sentences am I? Oh my god, what is going on with my brain...

Onion Kulacha
bready bread

I totally did not need this manhole sized onion kulacha, "Fluffy White Bread Topped with Onions", but I don't know how to resist bread. Moderation, where are you? [pokes it] The slightly charred bread was indeed fluffy, elastic, chewy, oniony, everything you'd want in an onion bread if you ever thought "Gee, what do I want from this onion bread?" because I know that's what keeps you up late at night in a violent bed sheet-tossing state of contemplative turmoil. That's you. Not me. Nor I. Or that dude. [points]

hot chocolates

We topped off our bulging Indian food-filled bellies with personal buckets of not very chocolatey hot chocolate at Push Cafe. It's a nice place to hang out and chat in some comfy seating ("ambiance" is listed as one of their offerings on their awning), but don't get the hot chocolate because if anything, it will make you crave chocolate even if you didn't have a craving to begin with. On the upside, it won't make you sick like City Bakery's hot chocolate. But I think that's part of the charm. Nausea.

the next day

My stomach wasn't feeling it the next day but since I already made plans to eat out I figured I just wouldn't eat much until dinner. Which wouldn't be until 8:30 PM. Um.

For an afternoon activity I visited Corinne, who said she wanted to give me a copy of the latest book that she contributed to, Curry Cuisine. We also chatted about life and whatnot, which in the process became a "let's give Robyn some advice for the future" session. While completely appreciated, the advice also freaked me out a bit. Or a lot. The takeaway message was that 1) it seems like I can do something related to food and writing/publishing, 2) I should get "my foot in the door" by the time I'm 24, giving me about 3 years to figure out whatever the hell it is that I want to do and 3) I'm doomed. The last point is mainly my belief. ...I am doomed. To me, the door to whatever I want to do in life is 12 feet tall, made of lead and covered with long, painful spikes. For killing. No wait, for torturous injury; killing would be too easy.

I'm so not optimistic.

Ceci-Cela pain au chocolat
pain au chocolat

To ease the doom and pack on another layer of fat, I got a pain au chocolat ($2) at nearby French patisserie Ceci-Cela. It tasted like something straight out of Paris; flaky, crispy, buttery, with perfectly separated layers. I could go there every day. Maybe I will.

For dinner I met up with Diana and Alice at Teresa's, my choice restaurant for blintzes and pierogies (not that I eat them much to begin with, but once I find a place I like I tend to stick with it).


Since I was far from starving, I went with a small order of boiled pierogies (four pieces instead of the regular seven), one each of their four varieties: cheese, potato, meat (pork, I'm guessing), and sauerkraut with mushrooms. Pierogies are like Chinese dumplings to me (which are like any other dough-stuffed-with-stuff from one of a gazillion cuisines) except heavier, dough-wise and with denser filling. Four is a good number.

apple blintz
apple blintz

...Not that that's all I ate. I also got an apple blintz (aka a half order of the usual two blintz platter) since I love sweet, fried things. Not all blintzes I've seen are deep fried to crispy golden perfection, but those are my favorite kinds so I'm sticking to them. Think of a rolled up crepe filled with chopped apples...but awesomer because it's deep fried and dusted with powdered sugar. Who wouldn't love that? CRAZY PEOPLE.

tomato soup potato pancakes chicken sammich
other food

Everyone enjoyed their food. Diana was really into her tomato soup, almost alarmingly so (she doesn't usually like everything the way I do...because my tastebuds don't give a crap) and Alice ate every one of her three human baby-sized potato pancakes (three being the small order, so whatever you do don't get the five-piece order) and her blueberry blintz. Even though Diana's sandwich took so long to make that we speculated how they were killing the chicken as Alice and I poked at our dishes, we didn't care very much since it did eventually come, Diana enjoyed it enough to eat the whole thing and the waiters were sweet.


At Diana's and Alice's suggestion we hung out some more at a nearby Starbucks (because no matter where you are in NYC there is probably a Starbucks within breathing distance) where I ate this "larger than it looked" rainbow cookie. The whole thing. Damn cookies, why are they so tasty? I prematurely ended the night due to lethargy and poop headedness, which has since cleared 10%.

I have the sleepies.

...I start school on Tuesday. Crap.


Shanghai Tide
13520 40th Rd
Flushing, NY 11354

Dim Sum Dynasty
75 Franklin Ave
Ridgewood, NJ 07450

Curry Leaf
99 Lexington Ave

Push Cafe
294 3rd Ave

55 Spring St

103 1st Ave



Natalia / January 13, 2007 11:47 PM

I love the way you describe dumplings as cute and adorable. Not your typical foodie adjectives, but it's perfect for them! I could go for some adorable dumplings right now...

elizabeth / January 13, 2007 11:54 PM

Pierogies--cute name! Reminds me of the shredded-turnip-and-carrot/black-fungus/dried-shrimp-stuffed, similar-shaped chewy-skinned things I've eaten...

The soup-dumplings (xiao long bao? little dragon dumplings, literally, I guess) ...I wish I knew how to make them! for a friend of mine, her mother comes from china, and so her family had peking duck with little pancakes for christmas, and the soup-dumplings for new year. !!!

Out of curiosity--when you say "spicy", do you mean tongue-burningly spicy, or flavourful-spicy, please? Thanks.

a. / January 14, 2007 1:29 AM

"I should get "my foot in the door" by the time I'm 24, giving me about 3 years to figure out whatever the hell it is that I want to do and 3) I'm doomed. The last point is mainly my belief. ...I am doomed."

this is how i feel on an hourly basis.

curse you, cruel premature quarter life crisis.

sorry to hear that you had "one of those days." the food, however, looked yummy.

hope you feel better. don't fret. things will eventually fall into place.

Kathy / January 14, 2007 5:10 AM

Oh man, you MUST do something with food - whether it be writing or cooking...or anything, it would be such a waste of talent and eager tastebuds if you didn't! Hope you like your new apartment, that was a "far" move from Water Street! Curry day and night with naan and parathas to go sounds good to me :)

...about those Starbucks cookies - I spent every single one of my NYU declining dollars from freshman year on their black & white cookies (they don't make them any longer :() and mocha frappuccinos. hehe, they really try to kill you with the meal plan!

Alex / January 14, 2007 5:25 AM

I went to London last week, and followed in the steps of two people: Mrs. Dalloway, and you! Wagamamamamamamsdkamamsdkdahas;lkdfj;lasdf was delicious, as was the gbk. Sounds like you're having fun and getting settled in. I miss you. I feel like I'm wasting my time in Paris when I could get p.a.c. that's just as good in the states.

jamie / January 14, 2007 6:54 AM

hello! you really ought to swing by shanghai and try REAL xiao long paus one day. it's an art over there. the moment your teeth pierce into the thin folds and the flavourful scalding broth fills your mouth .. i am this close to booking a one way ticket there.

Tina / January 14, 2007 7:52 AM

Hey Robyn,
Those deep fried wontons look yummy! It sucks that I'm allergic to crab...

Anyways, some Indian restaurant suggestions near your nabe would be Copper Chimney (more modern take on Indian food), Pongal, Roomali, and Kalustyan (the cafe's on the 2nd floor; good Mujiddarah sandwich). (It sucks that I know these places before I started my blog.)

maria~ / January 14, 2007 12:12 PM

ohh myy lordiee! you ate so well! i haven't had chinese dumplings in a while and man oh man, am i salivating now! and thanks to you, now i'm going to have dreams involving fried taro hash browns (i've never seen them so thin and crispy- and yummy-looking before) and turnip cakes!

sigh~ what have you done to me now?!?!?

roboppy / January 14, 2007 12:46 PM

Natalia: You were so...excited that I think you commented twice! Hehe. But I'll stick with this comment since it's the first one.

Ploppy things are cute and adorable, yes? PERFECT FOR EATING! Like bunnies!...oh wait. Well. They are tasty.

Elizabeth: I don't know anyone who makes xiao long bao. Does EVERYONE from China know how to cook a feast? Mraah! WHAT IS THISSS? Not fair.

By "spicy" in this case I think I meant flavorful-spicy. I don't recall any burning tongues. :)

Adelyn: DUUUDE YOU STOP THAT [smack], you've done lots of awesome things in your life and you continue to do them and YOU ARE ON A PATH TO SOMETHING, yes...probably not sand surfing or whatever that was, but ye know. Something else. :)

No crisis for you. But for me, yes! Yaay!

Monica: I know people who don't start until a week after me! BASTARDS! (But their school probably gets out later than mine. Mrah, whatever.)

Kathy: A part of me wants to go to baking school in paris, but that may be more for the sake of being in Paris than to learn how to bake. I can't say I have much drive for baking...I just think it's something I shoudl know. Like riding a bike. God knows I don't actually ride bikes often, but at least I know how. YAA. OKAAY!!

Whoooaa I am so glad I didn't have to go on a meal plan! Ahh! When I was in Vassar I sold a lot of my points to other people since I couldn't use em up. Thank god for that. .__.

Jamie: I would love to try the real thing someday! I'm scared by the air pollution in Shanghai though (or all major cities in China). I don't want to die of asthma for the dumplings...unless they're really good. Hmm.

Tina: Thanks for the recommendations! I'll try to check em out.

Maria: A dream about taro hash browns would be awesome. At least better than the dream I had last night, which was something like a nightmare...oh god. [shudders] There wasn't any taro in my dream, waah.

leigh / January 14, 2007 1:41 PM

you need to try sarvanas bavhan, on 28th and lex,it is the one with the pink walls, try idly and a dosa, great south indian food.

susannah / January 14, 2007 2:47 PM

I want a blintz!!

Indian is one of my favorite foods, but I don't eat it often either, probably becuase there's not that many Indian places in NJ, and the only good one I can think of is expensive. But naan, I'll always pay for.

Starbucks doesn't make a terrible cookie, believe it or not. I remember eating one of their chocolate chunk ones quite fondly in a movie once after getting high. Oops. Go figure.

Gorgeous pictures as always!!

redrhino / January 14, 2007 9:31 PM

[quote]"Turnip Cakes are one of my most favorite Chinese foods".[/quote]

Hey Robster!

So you like turnips huh?

Have you ever read the web comic "The Unfeasible Adventures of Beaver and Steve"? It has a character that is a turnip called Timmy.

[quote]Steve has had several unpleasant experiences involving this turnip. Complete with arms, legs, and face, Timmy will go to great lengths (including the use of chloroform) to be eaten by Steve. It all started when Steve met Timmy the Turnip, who purportedly was rich in vitamins and minerals. When Steve refused to eat him, Timmy subdued him and forced his way into Steve’s mouth.[/quote]

Here is a link to the main page.

And here is a link to the strips with Timmy the Turnip.

Pretty funny stuff. :-0 Ha Ha Ha


piccola / January 14, 2007 10:23 PM

Robyn, if you ever need more NJ eating buddies, give me a shout. There's tons of good places in Jersey City.

roboppy / January 15, 2007 1:38 AM

Leigh: Thanks for the recommendation!

Susannah: I kind of want to have an entire Indian meal that consists only of bread. But that might be unbalanced.

Starbucks' cookies are alright with me. But it ain't City Bakery. Mmmhmhmmmrahra.

Photos are all about the lighting and photoshopping, bwahaha!..ha.

Ganda: I just need to learn more about photography and find a job and then BAM, cookbook city!

Red: I've seen that comic, but I haven't read much of it. Apparently I must now, FOR THE TURNIP. Naturally.

piccola: I totally suck for not eating in Jersey City like...ever. I don't like to drive much, so I go to "15 minutes away" Ridgewood. .__. Help me expand my Jersey eating repertoire, yarh!

Rita / January 15, 2007 6:42 AM

I don't eat pork anymore, but looking at your pictures....I'm salivating. I moved to Japan a few months ago to teach English and I'm missing out on good NYC food!!! I'm not a dim sum fan, but just to be sitting in a dim sum restaurant smelling all that good fatty stuff....oh i would pay a million dollars right now.

Amblus / January 15, 2007 9:55 AM

"The takeaway message was that 1) it seems like I can do something related to food and writing/publishing, 2) I should get "my foot in the door" by the time I'm 24, giving me about 3 years to figure out whatever the hell it is that I want to do and 3) I'm doomed. The last point is mainly my belief. ...I am doomed."

Wooo, no pressure, there! While I agree you should definitely try to do something food-related (you're really quite talented with the food writing) I don't think you will mentally combust if you don't have it all figured out by the ripe (whoo!) old age of 24. Trust me on this. I'm nearly 35 and didn't figure out my career until I was 27ish and didn't actually start using my degree until I was 33. You have SO MUCH TIME. Have some fun first, before you worry about figuring it all out, okay?

elizabeth / January 16, 2007 6:44 AM

!! small caged dumpling, i just realised. argh, my chinese. ah well. i like thinking of them as dragon dumplings, though--as in, celebrated for their majestic juicy qualities. apparently one is supposed to poke a hole in the top to let the steam out! learnt that recently. :)

buzzgirl / January 16, 2007 6:18 PM

Hi Robyn. I know we don't know each other, but I really love reading about your fooding adventures, and your photos rock. In appreciation, I (and a couple of friends I nagged) nominated you for a Bloggie in the "Best Foodblog" category. I think finalists will be announced next week.

Mila / January 16, 2007 9:33 PM

Hey robyn, I'm another radish cake fan. Over here, a lot of tea houses serve it with a chilli sauce, and I love to dip the fried radish cakes in a lot of the chilli sauce. and a bit of soy sauce. But more chilli than soy! Was just in Hong Kong over the holidays and I wish we could have eaten dimsum together. The folks I was eating with were so shy about trying different stuff and I didn't want to go overboard trying all the different dumplings, so I didn't get a full tummy like I'd have wanted. You've got to come to Asia soon, so we can eat!

roboppy / January 17, 2007 12:56 AM

Rita: Oo, the pork is quite yummy. But it's okay to not eat it.



Dude, Japan! So much food! That has to be awesome. :) Don't miss NYC food when you're in Japan. I'd go for some eel or katsu right now.

Amblus: MENTALLY COMBUST...damn, I hadn't thought of that. Now I will obsess over the idea. [obsesses]

Or not. Lalala. Dare I ask what you did until you turned 27? OMG WHAT AM I DOIN WITH MY LIFE?!

[flips out]

I have a plan. Not a very plausible one. It's one where I make buttloads of money so I can go to Paris and enroll in a baking/pastry course. Haha. Ha.

Elizabeth: Small caged dumping? That's it? Okay, that makes sense too. Or dragons. I usually chomp a lil' hole and let it air out a bit...but then I eat it anyway and burn meself. Oops.

buzzgirl: Aw, thanks! That's really sweet of you to nominate me, especially since I could never win...but the thought is nice. :) Puts a bit o moolah in my "self esteem bank", which is constantly being robbed by my self-loating-something-or-other.

Mila: Good god, I'd love to have some kind of full out ASIAN FOOD TOUR, especially in Hong Kong, but I think I'd need sponsorship from someone. A really rich someone. Which would probably have to be me. Someday, perhaps.

Lauren / January 17, 2007 1:30 PM

If I ever open up a dumpling shop/cart I'm going to call it "Little Dumps." I am of course willing to pay you royalties.

Mickjagger / January 17, 2007 9:12 PM

Wow the french bakery looks cool, for Paris its style would be a bit excessive, but I think it's kinda cute in New York!
The M&M's cookie made me smile, so american, I'm jealous!

leigh / January 18, 2007 12:11 AM

hi again,
im usually super healthy etc, i mean all vegan,not even tofu, but a good friend was here from japan and i wantedto take him to some great places, city bakery was one, and i tried what i told him to buy, anyway the pretzel crossaint was great but the cookie was , im sorry awful, not so great, and jaques torres chocolate is terrible! really awful, and corn syrup in many items, 20 dollar malt balls should not have corn syrup. so then i took him to key chocolates, much better, anyway, what is the deal with jaques torres anyway? overrated junk food, oh well, but sullivan bakery is still great even though it has a new name. well its not sullivan on sullivan anymore, hmmm. sorry about the negativity. i think im spoiled as i travel a great deal and the american quality of food is not on par with most of the western world, or eastern actually, the food is not fresh, well, nothing compares with farmers markets which thankfully we have and by the way hawthorne valley farms rocks, if your into raw food, the sauerkraut is amazing! and kim chee, with no sugar, excellent. ciao, thanks robin for your enjoyable blog

roboppy / January 18, 2007 11:07 AM

Lauren: Yay, BEST NAME EVER!

Yann: Naah I think it would fit in Paris! Kind of. ...Ok, it is very cutesy. It says PATISSERIE!

I never checked to see what the Starbucks in Paris had! Hehe.

Leigh: Oh noo...I still love the chocolate chip cookies from CB. Just a matter of taste, I guess? I couldn't call it awful (well, there aren't many things I would call awful...since to me "awful" is like "poisonous"; I may find grubs awful ut a lot of people like them, so I wouldn't really call them awful). Do you have a recommendation for where to get those kinds of cookies in the whole world? I'M OPENING UP RECS FOR THE ENTIRE GLOBE, YES.

ann / January 23, 2007 9:08 AM

As the self-proclaimed Polish/Ukranian food eating champean of the East Village (a crown I'll only be self-holding for 6 more days), I'm here to say that if you ever feel like trying something new in this arena, check out Polonia on 1st Ave near the crappy McDonald's between 5th & 6th streets.

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