Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Poster Bao for San Gabriel Valley Dumplings Hails from San Francisco

I post a lot of pictures, largely food-related, to flickr. They're licensed as Creative Commons - Attribution, which means that anyone can use them for any purpose whatsoever as long as they acknowledge the source. Sometimes the emphasis is on "creative" in their use. A picture I took of zeppole being sold at an Upper West Side street festival in Manhattan showed up in a popular magazine's online feature on ballpark food -- representing the food sold at Yankee Stadium. The French onion soup I photographed at Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal ended up at a similarly named restaurant in Paris, a SF Japantown noodle shop ended up in Tokyo, and Torta Loca in San Francisco's Mission District found new fame posing as one of the best places to eat in Acapulco.

In general, I've adopted a "don't ask, don't tell" policy toward location misrepresentation of my photos, as long as my phony name is spelled right. The latest instance, however, of a referential head-fake involving one of my pics is so egregious that it almost borders on chutzpah, especially in light of the historic SF-LA rivalry (which I'm always happy to stir up). I have to call you on this one, LA Weekly.

In the article depicted and linked above, the redoubtable and award-winning Jonathan Gold (he's a writer, not an apple) uses juicy political gossip as a hook for strutting about some of San Gabriel Valley's juicy dumplings, known to us cognoscenti as xiao long bao. The article goes so far as to dub a San Gabriel mall as the "the U.S. epicenter of the soup dumplings called xiao long bao" and was headed by a column-width photo by yours truly of some of the most photogenic dumplings ever to appear on the face of the earth.

Well, Jonathan (and I know the photo selection is not your bad), I don't do LA, and therefore can't call you on the excellence of San Gabriel Valley soup dumplings. I haven't been to LA in decades, and certainly not since my 1992 xiao long bao epiphany in Shanghai. What I'm getting at here is that the mouth-watering dumplings in the picture you honored by using it in your article cannot be found anywhere near San Gabriel. The picture was taken of the dumplings at Shanghai Dumpling King in the foggy outer Richmond District of San Francisco, the venue most loved by Bay Area xiao long bao aficionados. They're real, and they're spectacular.

Come up and try them some time.