Saturday, September 13, 2014

Dumpling Cafe in Boston's Chinatown District

I've been researching possible destinations for our next adventure and China keeps coming up.  Sure, there's the Great Wall of China, Jiuzhaigou, and the Forbidden City...but I think the foodie in me is more interested in the local Chinese cuisine. I'm not talking about lo mein, pork fried rice or general gau chicken (after all, we all know that's American Chinese food... right? ) 

I'm intrigued by the handmade fresh dumplings and wontons and this Xi'an Dumpling Banquet that I keep reading about. Depending on the establishment, diners pretty much feast on a beautiful assortment of 20+ varieties of veggies, meat and seafood steamed greatness.  The dumplings are locally made and served fresh. I'm already a huge fan of dim sum, I'd be in Dumpling Heaven!

Dumpling Cafe 
695 Washington Street
Chinatown Boston

The Mo and I were in the area visiting his grandma at Tuft's Medical Center.  It was late so we walked a block over to Dumpling Cafe for dinner along with his uncle.

Dumpling Cafe Chinatown Boston
Image via Cobra K. - Yelp
The restaurant was typical of an eatery in Chinatown.  Tables and seating were cramped in the small area and guests are quickly seated with strangers to minimize wait.

We were seated next to a couple that was obviously on a date. It was kinda weird at first to overhear their conversation and menu selections but I quickly got over it. To my surprise, the diners consisted mostly of western clientele ordering Chinese delicacies such as intestines and tripe.  Kudos to them... I don't even eat that!

We were served tea in a large clay pot in large cups.  That was pretty handy because I hate having to refill the typical small cups.  Although we placed orders for apps and dumplings to start, everything came out at once at "Chinatown" speed.  Staff is always in a rush but gets you what you need if asked.  I don't mind it so much because it means a shorter wait time for a table, food and for your bill.

For starters, we got the steamed duck bun, mini pork bun and fried crispy chicken strips, Taiwanese style.  It seemed like everyone else ordered the scallion pancakes but we opted not to.

Steamed Duck Buns $ 7.25
The duck bun was very flavorful and there was plenty of meat filling inside the warm bun.  I liked that it was lightly grilled on the bottom for a nice crispy texture.

Duck Filling inside pork bun
I made the mistake of NOT letting the Mini Pork buns cool down. I had a "Matthew DeLorie" moment and the piping juices exploded in my mouth.  The large pieces were a bit bigger than "bite size" it was more like two bite size, if there's such a thing.

Dumpling Cafe
Mini Pork Bun $ 6.95
The Taiwan style crispy chicken strips reminded me of fried catfish with a cornmeal batter.  It was addictive.  Although I saw fried red basil on the dish, I couldn't taste it on the chicken.

Crispy Chicken Strips (Taiwanese style) $ 6.95
For dinner, we went the family style route and split a few dishes.  I wished I referred Yelp before our visit.  I was overwhelmed with the extensive menu that had appetizers, grilled dishes, dumplings and buns, noodles, braised soup, beef/chicken/pork/seafood/vegetable specials, Chef;s specials and lots of other authentic Chinese food that I've never heard of but wanted to try.  This menu was NOT for the faint of stomach, after all there were dishes that had blood pudding, pork intestine, pork blood, duck tongue and frogs, just to name a few.

The salty fish chicken fried rice was very good and affordable at only $ 7.25.

Salted- Fish Chicken fried rice $7.25
We wanted a side vegetable dish and was bummed to hear they ran out of pea pod stems.  The waiter suggested Chinese broccoli so we went with that.  It was good but I think the price was a bit steep at $ 11.35.

Chinese Broccoli with Garlic $ 11.35
The pork belly was reminiscent of Cambodian/Vietnamese 5 spiced braised pork belly stew made from thick soy sauce and sugar.  The consistency was the same just that it didn't  have the strong anise and black pepper seasonings.
Pork Belly Taiwanese Style $10.95
I was thrown off by the chicken with garlic sauce.  I imagined a chicken breast stir fry in an oyster and garlic sauce.  Instead there were strips of chicken, scallion, dried wood ear mushroom and bamboo.  It was quite different and on the sweet side.

Chicken with garlic sauce $ 10.95

Dinner was very good and I definitely want to be back to try the other 200+ menu offerings.  I definitely want to try some of the casserole dishes as well as the hot pot items.Our bill total was $68.64
  • Crispy Chicken Strips 
  • Mini Pork Buns
  • Chinese Broccoli 
  • Shredded chicken in garlic sauce
  • Salted Fish Chicken Fried Rice
  • Special Duck Bun
  • Pork Belly Taiwanese Style
  • 2 diet cokes
It fed four of us and there were plenty of leftovers...until Next time! 

I'd try to go between 11 AM-4PM next time when they offer a combination special.  You can get 3 dishes for 21.95 and there are 59 choices to choose from.  Great deal!

  1. Dumpling Cafe Inc
    Address: 695 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111

Dumpling Cafe
View from street outside window
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