We were afraid Kevin, our tour guide, would be a bit overwhelmed with the responsibility of us four giggling girls, but instead he seemed rather amused. Even when Melody, a friend of Ki-Ki's who is temporarily living in Shanghai, joined us, he was nonplussed. Instead, when we told him we were hungry and wanted a substantial meal, he calmly took us to a teahouse at the Yu Gardens Bazaar--an old-looking, but modern shopping area full of knick-knacks and tourists just like us.
There, before we went into the teahouse, we watched the chefs make the dumplings we would be about to sample. It seemed to chaotic dance, the chefs' fingers flew as dumpling after dumpling was made. But even though it seemed fast to us, Kevin told us that this was non-impressive quickness; a famous woman chef had been recorded to make 1 million dumplings in 7 hours and 20 minutes. That, he told us, was speed worthy of respect.
However, when we sat down to eat, Kevin gained a new respect for speed when he saw how fast those dumplings disapeared. They were delicious--a Chinese specialty called xiao-lan-bao. Unlike the typical potsticker, these dumplings had a flavorful soup inside of them, making the meat especially tender and tasty. The first bite of these dumplings is accompanied by a savory squirt of soup; which if you can eat without making a mess marks you as a "real Chinese."
Some of us were better eating the dumplings than others, but our pace was beyond comparison. Suprised out of his professional demeanor, Kevin had to make two more orders to satisfy his American girls because we only stopped until we were stuffed like dumplings we we ate.