At long last, xiao long bao (Shanghai Soup Buns) are having a moment, and the dumplings at Buford Highway’s Yong He Zhi Jia are a must. Located just south of another xiao long bao hot spot, Dim Sum Heaven, this new Taiwanese concept has an inviting, cheery vibe, with large pictures on the wall and a colorful, picture-laden menu to assist unsure diners. Service is helpful and enthusiastic; after your food arrives, don’t be surprised if the apple-cheeked chef emerges to make sure you are enjoying her cooking.
While the dumpling skins could stand to be a fraction more delicate, they are still quite tender. The strength of the wrappers does a good job holding in the hot soup and pork filling studded with green onion. Not sure how to eat these soup-filled buns? Gingerly place a dumpling on a soup spoon, nibble off a small bite, and carefully sip the hot soup out of the dumpling. Then splash on some deep black vinegar sauce and eat the remainder in one bite.
The menu offers a variety of boiled and pan-fried dumplings, but the dish that I enjoyed most—after the soup buns—was the beef noodle soup. The broth, which clings to the thick, chewy white noodles that tangle with slices of tender beef and bok choy, has a certain homey comfort about it, as if it was so pure you instinctively know it’s homemade. Add a little chili sauce for a spicy, filling lunch, or take it to go for an ailing loved one when cold and flu season starts. If you do dine in, be sure to check out the wacky shows that play on the restaurant’s flatscreen TV.