Oct 252014
 
Shen jian bao meat dumplings  at Dough Zone

Shen jian bao meat dumplings at Dough Zone

My mother-in-law has had a healthy addiction to dumplings ever since we spotted them on the streets of Xian while touring China in the 90s. Yes, Seattle and Xian are several Great Walls apart culturally but I figured we could get her a dumpling fix at the dumpling house, Dough Zone, near the Crossroads Mall in Bellevue WA. My family left very impressed and our belts were a little more snug by the end of the evening.

Determined to bite into our dumplings quickly after being seated, we filled out our order on the restaurant’s menu during our 30 minute wait outside. Warning: if you come during regular dinner hours and weekends, be prepared to check emails and pass the time with your smartphone during the long wait.

We started with youtiao, Chinese bread sticks fried to a delicate crispiness. They were done just right, slightly crispy and not at all greasy. Unfortunately, we wanted to have congee for dipping our youtiao but they were all sold out for the day.

Youtaio at Bellevue's Dough Zone

Youtaio at Bellevue’s Dough Zone

The dumpling barrage started as soon as the breadsticks were devoured. The first dumplings were wontons in spicy sauce. They were wonderful, firm meaty wontons coated with a tangy, spicy sauce.

Wontons in spicy sauce, Dough Zone

Wontons in spicy sauce, Dough Zone

 

Meat potstickers were next to arrive and they did not disappoint. The flavorful meat filling and the crispy brown bottoms provided a great contrast in textures.

Meat potstickers at Dough Zone


Meat potstickers at Dough Zone

 

We knew that the best was yet to come when we spotted large hot bamboo steamers approaching the table. The first one was filled with steamed pork dumplings. They disappeared quickly after being smothered in a mixture of soy sauce and chili peppers.

Steamed dumplings at Dough ZoneSteamed dumplings at Dough Zone

Steamed dumplings at Dough Zone

 

And then the grand dumpling finale – xiao long bao. These petite juicy pork soup dumplings come 10 to an order. After savoring the first one, you realize why they are served in groups of 10. Few people have the will power to eat less than 10 of these tasty morsels!

Pork soup buns at Dough Zone

Pork soup buns at Dough Zone

All in all, the Dough Zone was a great place to reminisce about the savory street food we experienced many years ago in Xian, one of the most interesting regions in China. Good food, even better memories.

 

 

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Dim Sum Guide: Fried Taro Dumplings

 Posted by on March 22, 2012 at 6:58 am  Food & Cooking  No Responses »
Mar 222012
 
Fried taro dumplings
Fried taro dumplings

Fried taro dumplings

Everyone should experience the contrasting textures of fried taro dumplings (wu gok), one of my favorite dishes. The shell of this dumpling is made from soft taro root paste and the filling is minced pork. Upon deep-frying, the crispy shell reminds me of the spiky hair of a rabid sports fan. The sensation of the fluffy light shell is quickly followed by the steamy, creamy flavor of the taro and, finally, the slightly salty pork filling. The combination of flavors and textures is unique.

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Dim Sum Guide: Salt Water Dumplings

 Posted by on March 17, 2012 at 7:53 am  Food & Cooking  No Responses »
Mar 172012
 
Salt water dumplings
Salt water dumplings

Salt water dumplings

Salt water dumplings (hom sui gok) are a great combination of several memorable flavors. Being deep-fried, you’ll first encounter a crispy outer crust around an inner sticky and somewhat sweet rice flour dough. After you bite through the doughy shell, you’ll reach a savory, salty filling of minced pork and Chinese vegetables. A great combination of flavors!

Minced pork inside salt water dumpling

Minced pork inside salt water dumpling

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Dim Sum Guide: Steamed Shrimp Dumplings

 Posted by on March 14, 2012 at 7:05 am  Food & Cooking  No Responses »
Mar 142012
 

Steamed shrimp dumplings

Steamed shrimp dumplings


A staple of many Sunday mornings, steamed shrimp dumplings (har gow) are a classic dim sum dish consisting of a mixture of shrimp, bamboo shoots, and pork stuffed inside a shiny, dimpled tapioca wrapper. The shrimp flavor fuses well with the crunchy bamboo shoots. The wrapper should be smooth and firm enough to hold the filling without breaking until the dumpling reaches your mouth. When made correctly, the wrapper is thin and translucent allowing a peek at the shrimp inside. Because it takes considerable skill to prepare and cook this dish, many dim sum aficionados will judge a restaurant based on this dish.

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