Today’s Poor Girl is looking for dumplings in Dallas that are as good as the ones she ate in China. (I hate to break it to you, bud, but if you’re searching for those kinds of dumplings, hop on a plane and turn around because you are on the wrong hemisphere.) The thing is, when you eat Asian food in Dallas, your quality of life will be much higher if you lower your standards and erase those memories of whatever it is you ate in China or Korea or Japan. Take a Neuralayzer from the Men in Black movies and tell Will Smith to zap out those food experiences from your brain.
It’s not that Asian restaurants are terrible in Dallas. On the contrary, we can boast that we have a diverse representation of the Asian continent (unlike most cities), and I’m pleased that some of my favorite dishes like rice porridge and Peking duck are find-able should I ever need them. At the same time, the stinky tofu at May’s Ice Cream in Chinatown isn’t nearly as putrid and vomit-inducing (in Taiwan, the stinkier the tofu, the better) as the ones you’d find in Taipei’s night markets. ‘Tis a simple fact.
So here’s what I always do when I get back from Asia: I go on an Asian food detox.
For about a month or so, I don’t touch Asian food in Dallas. If I do, I’ll be sorely disappointed that the pork pot stickers at Noodle House – usually my favorite when I’m not detoxing – aren’t nearly crispy or juicy enough compared to the pot stickers I had in Shanghai’s hole-in-the-wall places. And when I’m done with my Asian food fast – purposefully erasing the memory of the truly soupy dumplings I ate at Din Tai Fung in LA/Shanghai/Taipei – I’ll scarf down Jeng Chi’s xiao long baos (soup dumplings – and yes, I just pluralized a Chinese word. Welcome to my world of Chinglish.) even though they’re worlds apart. I’ll still relish the experience, enjoying them because it is the best that Dallas can do, and that, honestly, is enough to make me happy.