Shi Lin is a fairly new player in the xiao long bao wars. It’s a shop opened inside The Podium, and I have to say, it came highly recommended. It’s mainly a Taiwanese2 restaurant so the menu should seem somewhat familiar.
First dish is my staple in Chinese restaurants — Crispy Salt and Pepper Squid. Ugh, where do I begin? Basically, it’s fried squid with Taiwanese powder as flavoring. You know the powder they use over at Ersao? That same powder. I hate that crap! Wreaks of fake flavor all over.
Next dish was Noodles with Spicy Sesame and Peanut Sauce. All I can say is this sick made my stomach sick for a couple of days and not because it was rotten or anything. Granted I generally dislike sesame, the dish was just too oily. Think of it this way, I can eat whole plates of sisig and not get this terrible feeling as I did here! And the noodles were terrible quality, almost on the instant noodles quality — the local kind3.
Their xiao long bao was OK. Not great, and is a notch below Lugang and Crystal Jade. They put out instructions on how to mix the sauce and how to eat xiao long baos.
Shi Lin serves you a sauce dish of ginger. They suggest you put a 1:1 ratio of black vinegar and soy sauce. I didn’t get the soy sauce part because black vinegar + ginger should be enough. I guess it probably caters more to the Filipino taste, just not mine.
We just order the 6pc. Xiao Long Bao and like I said, it was OK. There are 3 things I really look at:
- The casing should be firm on its own but not too hard when you bite it,
- The soup should be hot and flavorful, and
- The filling should be tasty.
I think that’s it. Anyway, the way to eat it is really to eat the whole things. The really good ones burn the insides of your mouth.
Shi Lin’s xiao long bao isn’t one of the great ones. The casing was fine. I’ve had really great ones and this one doesn’t really compare. It held on, but I was worried the filling would fall at any time. The soup was OK, but Lugang’s soup was better. The meat, well, was your typical ground pork meat. Not that it was anything special, but I get the feeling that you probably won’t remember much about your xiao long bao experience in Shi Lin. I’m certainly having a hard time writing about this!
Overall, wasn’t really happy with this place. I doubt if I’ll be back. The xiao long bao was supposed to be the star of the show, but the only thing that really stuck with me was how oily the noodles were4. Apparently, my mom didn’t even want to eat here a second time and was effectively forced into agreeing to try it with me. That should say a lot. I guess the recommendations were wrong.