有的不顧語言的障礙，活活把小籠包寫成了經典——《上海小籠包索引（Shanghai Soup Dumpling Index）》：
Christopher St. Cavish, an American food critic, has been quite the buzz lately because he spent 16 months on aninvestigation of Xiao Long Bao, or the Chinese soup dumplings, and put all theresults in his just-published Shanghai Soup Dumpling Index.
Altogether, Cavish ate 7.2 kilograms of soup dumplings in 50 plus different restaurants across Shanghai. Eachrestaurant was given a score based on the formula (weight of soup + weight offilling) ÷ thickness of the skin, and then grouped into one of three classes.Class A was the best.
I wanted a data-based defense of Din Tai Fung, which I like tremendously. I hate the debate around them—it’s almost never about the actual dumplings. I just wanted a snappy comeback for when people started slagging it off, telling me how Jia Jia or Fu De or whatever is soooo much better. So that was my ulterior motive.
I wanted to write about food in a new way. I was growing tired of reading the same old subjective clichés with no meat to them: “delicious,” “nom nom,” “melts in your mouth,” or whatnot. So I thought, What would happen if I measure something objectively? Xiao long bao happen to be the perfect thing for that. Three of the four standards for what makes a good one (thin skin, a lot of soup, a lot of meat) can be measured easily and with cheap tools. You can’t do that with sheng jian bao, with hongshao rou, with a hairy crab.
I find these types of quests fun; I’d never seen a comprehensive survey of so many xiao long bao places, much less one in English; xiao long bao are basically one of our mascots.
According to my data, I spent exactly 712.5 RMB, or $114.92 USD, on the dumplings. But all told, I’m easily above 10,000 RMB if you count the printing, the website, etc.
Zun Ke Lai is at the top of The Index (score: 24.32), followed by Taibei Mingchu (18.52), Jade Garden (17.96), and Ding Xin Di (for now, a single restaurant in its market testing phase, jointly founded by an old dim sum chef from the State Guest House; 16.42). There are nine others in Class A, and that’s the way to read The Index.
Chinese food is my main interest. The majority of my writing is about Chinese food and the culture that surrounds it. The country has such an incredible, rich cuisine. At the same time, it’s very poorly represented in the West and in English media, for a variety of complex reasons. My whole goal is to translate a tiny slice of Chinese culture into something that can be shared with Western chefs and eaters. There is just so much to be learned from China’s food culture.
另外，其實這份索引看不大明白... 因為... 看起來都很好吃的樣子...