Yesterday we had lunch with some friends who recently moved from Toronto to Vancouver, B.C. Driving from Seattle to their place in North Vancouver took about 4 hours, since the border crossing is so slow. It was nice to see them again.
Before headingback, we stopped for dinner at a place we discovered about two years ago, named Gou-Bu-Li (which is Chinese for “Dog won’t eat”). It’s named after a famous restaurant in Tianjin, which serves the regional specialties from that area. Tianjin is known particularly for the baozi, and Gou-Bu-Li in Vancouver has the best within a few hundred miles of Seattle. You can get baozi at many dim-sum places, and jiaozi at almost every Chinese place (and at Japanese and Korean places as gyoza). But at this place, they really know how to make it taste great.
Sometimes at home or with friends, we make our own shuijiao (the boiled version of jiaozi instead of fried). The standard filling for jiaozi and baozi is just ground pork with some chives, ginger, and maybe some egg. But the taste quality can vary wildly depending on who makes the filling. I’ve made filling a few times, but now I’m smart enough to let the most experienced person in the house make it, because it means a dramatic difference in tastiness. Gou-Bu-Li’s filling tastes like it was the grandmother from Tianjin who made it; not too dry, not all pulled away from the wrapper (or bun in the case of baozi), and perfect balance between meat and vegetable.
Gao-Bu-Li is insoutheast Vancouver, on Broadway between Main and Kingsway, north side of the street. In fact, both Main and Kingsway south of Broadway are packed with good Chinese, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and Korean restaurants; so there are plenty of other places to eat if you don’t get stuffed with the dumplings.