China Blue has a pretty wide selection of dumplings so I on my first visit I only tried the pork filled ones. I recently went back to try the vegetable potstickers and the steamed vegetable dumplings. It turned however that these two menu items are the same dumpling, just cooked differently, so I substituted the Shanghai Shumai for the steamed veggie dumpling.
The Dumplings: China Blue makes a really good vegetable potsticker filled with a fine mince of vegetables which I think included at least spinach, carrots and mushrooms – the restaurant is a little dimly lit so it was hard to tell. The filling had a nice savory, bright and fresh flavor that was slightly sweet from the carrots. The wrapper was a pale green color and fried to a nice crispy crunch on the bottom. I thought these dumplings were really successful and they didn’t seem like just an after thought on the menu for vegetarians. China Blue could probably step it up to another level though and offer a different type of dumpling for the steamed dumpling.
The Shanghai Shumai were the traditional wonton wrapper formed into an open ended cylinder or cup, but instead of being filled with minced shrimp or pork which is the usual filling in U.S. restaurants, these were filled with sticky rice, pork and diced Chinese sausage. The rice had been cooked with pork and sausage so it was deliciously suffused with the savory and sweet/spicy flavor of the Chinese sausage. The rice filling was very similar to the “sticky rice with sausage wrapped in lotus leaf” dish often served at Dim Sum restaurants, and in this configuration it also reminded me of New Orlean’s dirty rice sausage, the Boudan.
Dipping Sauces: For a dipping sauce China Blue appears to only serve the black wine vinegar with slivered ginger sauce that traditionally comes with soup dumplings.
Location: As I wrote last time China Blue is off the beaten track and there isn’t much else around it. Going there is basically a mission, especially in the winter cold we have had recently, but it is really worth your time to go.