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Eat dumplings to protect ears
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The traditional Chinese festival Dongzhi, or midwinter in English, falls on this Saturday. Chinese people normally eat dumplings to mark this occasion. The reason why they eat dumplings is to protect their ears from getting frostbitten.


As the story goes, in ancient China there was once a kind doctor who helped local people free of charge. One winter he saw that some local people got frostbite on their ears. So he collected some traditional Chinese medicine, including mutton, pepper and other ingredients, and boiled them in water. Then he made the boiled medicine into snacks, which took the shape of dumplings. He distributed the snacks to the local people together with a bowl of hot soup. They ate the medicine and were cured of frostbite. From then on eating dumplings on Dongzhi became a Chinese custom. So let's go and eat dumplings on Dongzhi in China.




*Laobian Dumplings Eatery


With 200 years of history, Laobian Dumplings Eatery is one of the few remaining national eateries. Recommended dumplings are sanxian (leek, fresh pork and dried small shrimps) dumplings, fennel dumplings and zucchini dumplings. Laobian also offers vegetarian dumplings. Steamed dumplings, compared to those typically boiled, are also worth a try.


Apart from dumplings Laobian also features various fried dishes and its morning snacks of stuffed buns are popular among those in the nearby neighborhood.


Location: No. 179, Beitucheng Xilu, Haidian District

Tel: 010-62352308


*Shunyifu Dumplings Eatery


Hiding in a lane off Wangfujing Street, Shunyifu Dumplings Eatery is a nice spot for those who shop around the area. There is a wide range of dumplings here, including shrimp, leek and eggs, western celery and water chestnut in addition to the commonly found pork and leek, pork and fennel as well as zucchini and eggs.


Clay pot with meatballs here is also a nice dish. The soup is clear and it tastes pretty good though containing only a few meatballs. For cold dishes, mustard fungus tops the list, while spiced beef comes a close second. Shunyifu also features a traditional Chinese treatcalled labasuan, or preserved garlic which is often eaten with dumplings.


Location: No. 36-3, Ganyu Hutong, Dongcheng District

Tel: 010-65281960


*Taiping Dumplings Eatery


Located near Beijing Normal University, Taiping Dumplings Eatery has becomes a hangout for many overseas students.


The dumplings varieties here include leek and eggs, beef and carrots, and leek and pork. The foreigners' other favorite dishes here include gongbao jiding (spicy chicken cubes, peanuts and onion). Candy floss is a great dessert whileclay pot cabbage and beancurd is a nice treat during the cold winter.


Location: 50 meters north of Beishida Eastern Gate, No.19 Xinjiekou Waidajie, Xicheng District




*Dongbei Dumplings Eatery: the Original Flavor


Chinese people believe those in Dongbei, Northeast China have the most savory dumplings. The cold weather and the fertile soil make Northeast China a base for wheat production. Therefore these people are good at making snacks from flour, and dumplings are one of them.


The Dongbei Dumplings Eatery offers original Dongbei dumplings as well as some Dongbe home-style dishes. Recommended dishes are roumo qiezi, eggplant cubes fried together with pork paste and Dongbei luandun, a stew made with tomatoes, eggplants, pumpkin, cabbages and Dongbei mushrooms. All are fairly priced, and using original Dongbei ingredients, these dishes all help keep the winter cold away.


Location: No. 858, Longzhoulu, Xuhui District

Tel: 021-64552823


*Beijing Dumplings Eatery


Described as the "best dumplings available in Shanghai" by some customers, Beijing Dumplings Eatery is owned by a couple. The wife makes the dumplings on the site and the husband serves customers. There are a variety of dumplings here, such as dumplings stuffed with pork and cabbage, or with beef, or with pork and celery. All are priced at 2.5 yuan for every 50 grams, which contains six dumplings. A soup is served together with dumplings.


Beijing Dumplings Restaurant has successfully created a home-style flavor. But because there are only two people serving customers, diners need to wait for their dumplings.


Location: Lingyun Xincun, Hongmeilu, Xuhui District


*Laoshaan Dumplings Eatery


Laoshaan Dumplings Eatery is dedicated to Shaanxi dishes and dumplings are well known. Sanxian dumplings are said to be the best. The stuffing is made with leek, fresh pork and dried small shrimps. Other dumpling varieties include lotus roots and fresh pork dumplings and mutton dumplings.


Among its savory Shaanxi flavor dishes, Liangpi snack tops the list. Liangpi, or rice paste jelly, offered here is chewy and it includes a lot of seasoning. Suancaiyu, preserved cabbage and fish stewed together, comes the second, though it is a bit strange as suancaiyu is typically a Dongbei dish. The black fish is cooked for a long time, and the thick soup is full of flavor from the preserved cabbages.


Location: No. 15 Yunnan Nanlu, Huangpu District

Tel: 021-63731496


(dianping.com December 27, 2007)


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