This year we're marking the hundred-day countdown to Best of Phoenix 2015 by sharing some of our favorite dishes at restaurants all over the Valley. Have a suggestion for a dish you'd like us to try? Leave it in the comments section or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
77. Sheng Jian Bao at DingHao Shanghai
I'm not, like, obsessed with David Chang (Ok, that's a lie. I totally am.), but when one of the most famous chefs right now says a dish might be the most underrated in the whole world, you've got to check it out for yourself. That's why when Chang penned this ode to sheng jian bao earlier this year, I had no choice but to seek out the Chinese dumplings in metro Phoenix.
The hunt led me to DingHao Shanghai in Mesa, where you can order a number of rarer Shanghaiese dishes, sheng jian bao, and sheng jian bao's smaller sister xiao long bao. You'll have to wait about 30 minutes for your order of these dumplings to arrive at the table, but I assure you the dish is more than worth the wait. Unlike the smaller xiao long bao (often called "Chinese soup dumplings"), sheng jian bao are made with a yeasted dough that makes them a perfect cross between a dumpling and a bun.
The SJB at Ding Hao are also filled with a hot, rich broth that's meant to be slurped out, after which you can bite into the pillow-y dough. A layer of crisp sesame seeds on the bottom of the bun gives texture and a nice depth of flavor, while the meat filling and a sprinkling of scallions round out each bite. Just look for the dish under the name "???,," or "Fried Steam Buns" on the menu. I know you'll be happy you did.
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The 100 Favorite Dishes so far...
100. Waffle at Matt's Big Breakfast
99. Pacific White Fish Taco at La Santisima
98. Beef Roll at Taiwan Food Express
97. Zinc Burger at Zinc Bistro
96. Goat Biryani at Khyber Halal
95. Key Lime Doughnut at Welcome Chicken + Donuts
94. Chicharrón Prensado Quesadilla at La Merced
93. Moist Succulent Pork Chop at Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe
92. Deep Fried Squid with Salt and Pepper from Nee House Chinese Cuisine
91. Coconut Raspberry Brownie at Karl's Quality Bakery
90. Fried Chicken at Phoenix Public Market Cafe
89. The Tyler at Cheese 'N Stuff
88. Hurricane Popcorn at Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour
87. Ceviche at El Chullo
86. Date Shake at Couscous Express
85. Red Bean and Rice Burger at Liberty Market
84. Banh Thit Nguoi at Da Vang
83. Breakfast Sandwich at Ollie Vaughn's
82. Crispy Pig Ears at Crudo
81. Parillada at Asadero Norte De Sonora
80. Warm Jar of King Crab and Butter at Little Cleo's Seafood Legend
79. Pumpkin Spice Macaron at Essence Bakery
78. Falafel Sandwich at Al Hana Restaurant