Charleston isn’t always on the way to New York City, but if you’re coming from China, it’s close enough: Former Brooklyn chef Vinh Nguyen, who’s just completed a working stint in Shanghai, is planning to guest chef a Xiao Bao Biscuit dinner on his way home next month.
“He’s been doing a lot of travelling around Asia,” XBB owner Josh Walker says of the influences which might appear on Nguyen’s menu.
Shanghainese cuisine tends to make heavy use of soy, sugar and seafood. But the region’s best-known dish is xiao long bao, the soup dumplings which have inspired obsessions that would make the average ramen lover blush.
No word on whether Nguyen’s bringing XLB to Spring Street, but the menu for his Shanghai restaurant is online: On Nguyen’s watch, the pork-happy Grumpy Pig served steamed pork buns; pork street toast, described as pork and sweet potato on a baguette, battered and fried; Canton beef noodle soup; ramen; pho and snickerdoodle cookies.
Walker knows Nguyen from New York, where he ran a highly-focused Vietnamese restaurant with the all-time great name of Silent H. The New York Times took note of his “succulent banh mi” made with smoked sausage from neighboring Polish butcher shops. Nguyen later transformed the shop into Café Colette, described by New York Magazine as “an informal bistro meets diner.”
A dinner date hasn’t yet been set, but Walker guarantees it will happen in October.