Consider the dumpling.
From kreplach to agnolotti, pelmeni to manti, wontons to aushak, a filling wrapped in dough is a treat across continents. Dumplings may be boiled or simmered, steamed or fried. They always bring comfort.
One of the grandest creations is xiaolongbao, or the soup dumpling. This flavor-packed, warming creation is a specialty of Shanghai. And the puffy soup dumplings at Moonstone in Great Neck are excellent.
The wrapping is filled with meat or a combination of meat and seafood, along with solid, meat-based aspic. When the dumplings are steamed, the aspic or gelatin becomes soupy. Take a dumpling in a spoon, nibble the knot or poke a small hole into it and suck in the soup. Then eat the dumpling, or two or three. You may add a typically tart sauce to the dumpling, too, to cut the richness or just cool it a bit.
Soup dumplings at Moonstone contain pork and crabmeat. They top the list of dim sum. An order of six is $11. They get some competition from the pork pot stickers, which go for $9; pan-fried pork or vegetable gyoza at $8; steamed crystal dumplings with shrimp and bamboo shoots, $7; and steamed chicken and chive dumplings, $6.
Post-dumpling, be sure to order the crunchy seafood fried rice, thrice-cooked pork, or the pork belly “sliders,” in steamed buns with pickled vegetables.
Moonstone, 14 Northern Blvd., Great Neck; 516-500-1000, moonstoneny.com