Monday night I stopped by Gou Bu Li Restaurant for the first time, based on a recommendation for the Shandong style potstickers from the hostess at China Village in Albany and several mentions on this board for other dishes. The houses stated regional specialties are Peking, Szechwan, and Shanghai. The owners came from Taiwan, so the styling of the food has evolved through that filter.
The Kuo Teh (8/$4.50), shown below, are described on the menu as fried meat dumplings. While these were indeed open on the ends, they were not the small and slim cigarillo-shaped potstickers I was looking for. The wrappers were tender and thin, and very nicely browned and crisped. The juicy filling was soft finely ground pork with lots of leeks and ginger. They were a bit underdone with some unappealing starchy goo in the center. The soy sauce-based dipping sauce had a spicy heat undertone mingled with ginger and garlic notes.
I noticed the Tientsin Juicy Dumplings (8/$5.75) listed on the menu as Monday night only. I was here on the right night, so I had to order those too. These are the (in)famous Gou Bu Li Tang Baozi. For more about Northern style baozi, check the post from tanspace linked below. They are steamed to order, so theres a little bit of a wait until theyre ready. The pillowy soft white bread wrapping was fine-grained and almost cake-like in texture. The filling was fine ground pork with leeks, but did not have ginger like the potstickers, making them taste much more meaty and almost gamey in intensity. These were served with a golden brown and creamy dipping sauce of hot mustard and spices that is guaranteed to clear the sinuses.
While I was too full to try them, glazed apples (or bananas) are on the menu. This is a traditional dessert that has disappeared from the offerings of our local restaurants. Has anyone tried these here?
The wife who acts as hostess was sweet as can be. She brought me a change of plate without being asked because as she said, the two tastes are different and shouldnt touch. She encouraged me to come back on the weekend when they have a larger variety of xiao chi, including xiao long bao.
Other posts on this restaurant include:
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One sticking point Id like to clarify is that the dumplings and appetizers served here are NOT dim sum. Even though northern dim sum has crept into popular usage locally and on this board to describe these Beijing, Shanghai and Sichuan-style snacks collectively, they are more properly called xiao chi meaning small eats or little plates. Also, Shanghai and Sichuan are not even in northern China. Dim sum is a Cantonese specialty and has its own tradition separate and apart from the type of food served here.
Gou Bu Li Restaurant
(in front of Longs and Safeway)
10684 San Pablo
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