I’m sure you all know me by now, and my excitement when it comes to anything food-related that is different, and most importantly halal. Of course, with halal restaurants these days, we’re still stuck on the burger wave so I’ve turned my attention to street food stalls who offer interesting and exotic dishes, such as arepas, pilau pots, and in this case, halal soup dumplings.
Sheng High is only four weeks old, and is run by Felix, an ex-chef de partie for the Hakkasan and Yauatcha group, who serves up shengjian baos; a soupy, meaty Chinese dumpling that has been pan-fried and then steamed. It’s relatively unheard of in the halal world due to them primarily being made of pork, and I’ve always looked on jealously at my non-muslim friends digging into them when we go for dimsum. Thankfully, Felix recognised the gap in the halal market for these delicious, doughy hugs and now serves up a halal chicken version to hungry locals.
We located the Sheng High stall just as Felix put on the last batch of dumplings – phew – and placed our order. The baos are steamed for ten minutes in a large pan, with the occasional squirt of oil and water to help it cook. The steam from the pan kept us warm, whilst the aroma of the soupy dumplings made us hungry. Finally, Felix jabbed one with a thermometer to check if its cooked, and served us our goodies topped with sesame oil, sesame seeds, and spring onions. They have chilli oil on the side incase you like some heat.
The first thing I noticed while attempting to pick one up with chopsticks (and embarrassingly failing) was that the dumpling had a crispy, browned base which contrasted well with the soft doughy parcel.
As you bite in to the dumpling, it bursts with a warm, comforting chicken broth that oozed out, and you were greeted with a little meaty hunk of chicken mince. Both the chicken and the broth had a strong ginger note to give you that cozy, fuzzy feeling, and made you feel right at home despite the rain. Whilst the chicken itself was mildly flavoured with garlic, ginger, and perhaps some scallions, everything just worked together really nicely.
Just a tip, don’t pop the whole thing into your mouth otherwise you’ll burn yourself!
It cost a small £6 for a generous helping of four large dumplings (more than enough), which was great considering how filling the baos were, plus these are ideal for days when the rain just doesn’t stop – like yesterday! My only caveat was that the dumpling was a little doughy, so some did stick to the roof of your mouth, but otherwise this was really and truly enjoyable. Sheng High provides something different, thoughtful, and definitely juicy. I can’t wait to revisit and see what more offerings Felix will come up with in the future.
I recommend you pay a visit, especially if you’re heading to Stratford Westfield for a bout of shopping on the weekend. It’s a short five minute walk from the centre, and you’ll find Sheng High amongst a few other market vendors in East Village Market on Sundays from 11-4pm, and in Walthamstow on Saturdays.