When we think of comfort food, warming stews spring to mind. In Asia, it’s dumplings. We are very fortunate to have many Chinese restaurants these days, and they seem to pop up all over Cambridge, even on the market. Our latest addition is Noodles Plus on Mill Road. It’s not your regular type of noodle restaurant, though.
About the Xiao Long Bao
The other day I had a guest from Shanghai, and a smile came to her face when we were passing Zonghua, which means flower. A bit later, when we passed Noodle Plus, she started talking with full excitement: ” This food is from my city, Shanghai”. Noodles Plus has many pictures in the window of the food they serve, and two are very special, according to her. You can spot a giant dumpling on the left-hand side, which looks almost like a Chelsea bun. “It’s a flower”, she said. On the right-hand side, you can see the most famous dumpling from Shanghai, the Shanghai Xiao Long Bao. This dumpling is filled with steaming stock and meat.
How to eat the Xiao Long Bao
Eating the Shanghai Xiao Long Bao is quite a challenge! You put the dumpling on a spoon and make a hole into the dumpling with your chopstick. Then very carefully, as the stock is very hot, you sip the liquid of your spoon. Dip the dumpling into the sauce, and you eat the rest. It’s delicious!
About the owners
Dong Huang and Hui Yan Li opened Noodles Plus in February 2015, and it has become of the most popular places on Mill Road. You can’t book, so you might have to queue up for a while, but it is worth it! They are not new to the local food scene, though. Dong Huang was the chef at the very well known Chinese restaurant Peking, and before that, he worked in 5* hotels in Shanghai.
The origin of dumplings
Of course, everybody knows what a Cambridge Burnt is, but do you know how it differs from a Creme Where do dumplings come from? One of the greatest practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, Zhang Zhongjing, created these ‘tender ears’. He noticed that many of the Chinese population had frostbitten ears during the wintertime and decided to create comfort food in the shape of ears. However, other theories claim the dumplings arrived in China via the Silk Road.
Noodles Plus is one of the favourites on my food walking tours so why not join me on one of my award-winning Cambridge Food Tours and discover more places like these.