Joe’s Shanghai

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If you’re looking for some Soup Dumplings, Joe’s Shanghai will most likely be the Chinese restaurant to pop up at the top of the list. There are 3 locations, and I visited the one in Chinatown. 

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Although they’re best know for their Soup Dumplings, there’s an extensive menu of dishes to choose from. The restaurant is very modest, with a no frills vibe, so don’t expect anything swanky here. Yet, you’ll find the restaurant always full of every type of person just looking for some good food. The tables are communal, so, be prepared to dine with others and have the opportunity to strike up some fun conversation with some strangers. 

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I ordered their Squid with Salted Vegetable and Jalapeño. I really liked this dish a lot. Now, I couldn’t get an exact description of what the vegetables were (perhaps a language barrier), but, I would say there’s a strong possibility that it was seaweed and something similar to a picked relish. Either way, it was really tasty. The vegetables were indeed salty, but not overbearingly salty, and when combined with the spiciness of the jalapeño, and the mildness of the squid, it all combines very nicely. The squid was thickly cut and more tender than your run-of-the-mill calamari that you might get. It’s served with a side of white rice to balance out the dish. This is great as a dish to share along with another (most dishes are meant for family style serving), or, as an individual large portion. 

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And, some complimentary orange slices to to end on a sweet note.

The Shorts:
Name: Joe’s Shanghai
Location: 9 Pell Street, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Definitely. It’s totally unpretentious, with good hearty food. 
Would I recommend it? For sure. Just be prepared to wait a little bit for a table since it’s all first come, first serve. 

Aji Ichiban

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Located in Chinatown, you’ll find Aji Ichiban, full of confections from Hong Kong. 

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This store is fun and unique, offering everything from snack foods, authentic candies, to dried seafood. Everything is self-serve and priced by weight, so you’re able to try lots of things without having to commit to a whole bag. 

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They have candies from H.K., spanning from fruit hard candies to milk candies to sesame bars.

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There are lots of compartments full of dried fruits, nuts, beans, and an entire section dedicated to variations of dried plums. On one side you’ll find dried meats, including seafood items like fish. 

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The other great thing is, each bin has a little dish of samples of the food so that you can try before you buy. I got Dried Spicy Squid (left) and Dried Sesame Fish (right). It may not be a treat for everyone, but I really loved both of these. The squid is shredded, but chewy, and has a salty, fishy, spicy quality, unique to other jerky type snacks. The fish is a bit tougher, but still with a chew. It’s savory, sweet and a bit smoky. 

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And, with dozens of different gummy candies, I mean, I had to get a bag of that too. Plus, you can’t find large, soft blue gummy sharks at CVS. 

The Shorts:
Name: Aji Ichiban 
Location: 37 Mott Street, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Oh yeah, I’m a bit addicted now to this dried fish jerky. 
Would I recommend it? For sure. Even if you just check the place out and sample a few things you’ve never had. You know, for research.