My husband once asked me if I had to live on just one dish for the rest of my life, what would I choose? My answer – dumplings. Not only do they encompass three food groups in a neat little, flavorful package, they taste heavenly when made right, and I can’t stop eating them. Ding Tai Fung in Taiwan (one of the most famous dumpling restaurants in the world), is one of my all time favorite restaurants.
Imagine my utter excitement when I found out about this relatively new restaurant in Boston’s Chinatown with “dumpling” in its title! I was even more excited when I heard (unsubstantiated, by the way) that it was started by a chef who had left Taiwan Cafe, another one of my favorite Chinese restaurants in Boston.
Gourmet Dumpling House does not disappoint, and makes lots of excellent dishes. Below are some of the my favorite dishes to order.
Mini steamed buns with pork ($6.95) otherwise known as “soup dumplings” or “xiao long bao.” These delicate buns are filled with pork and hot, flavorful soup. Be careful when eating! You may accidentally squirt your neighbor’s eye out or burn your own tongue!
I have been spoiled by the soup dumplings at Ding Tai Fung, so I think these are only OK. The flavor of the filling is good, but the skin on the dumplings is nowhere as thin or as delicate as those from the soup dumplings at Ding Tai Fung.
Sauteed Chinese watercress with garlic (special house sauce) – $9.95. This “hollow heart” vegetable (literal translation in Chinese) has stems that are hollow, not unlike a pile of green, crispy straws. The chef here did an excellent job cooking this vegetable – it was crisp, bright green, not too greasy, and very flavorful. I love this dish.
Taiwanese Style Sauteed Rice Cake with pork and vegetables ($6.25). I have a weakness of the chewiness of rice cakes, so I may be a bit biased here. This dish is great because it has everything – the robust, meaty flavor from the thin, julienned pork; the refreshing crunch of the napa cabbage, bean sprouts, and scallions; and the wonderful chewy texture of the sauteed rice cakes.
Sliced fish – Szechuan style – $12.95. If you like hot and spicy food, you absolutely have to try this dish. Literally translated as “water-cooked fish” in Chinese, this dish looks and tastes nothing like what its deceptive name might imply. The fiery red sauce is pungently fragrant, screaming of red Szechuan peppers and peppercorns. The pieces of fish are velvety soft, and taste absolutely incredible when combined with this glorious red sauce. Although the dish looks insanely hot, it’s actually quite manageable. Just make sure to order some rice too! I get this dish every time I come here.
Sauteed Sliced Beef with ladies’ fingers. The ladies’ fingers, as you can see from the photo, are actual pieces of okra. This dish is cooked in Chinese BBQ sauce (sa-tsa), and is surprisingly good. I have never had anything like this before, and would not have ever ordered it had I not heard rumors about this dish’s amazing flavors. The BBQ sauce gives the dish a nice smoky flavor, and it was definitely one of the favorites at the table when I went with a large group the other day.
Gourmet Dumpling House is a great addition to Boston’s Chinatown area. Being of Taiwanese descent, I used to go to Taiwan Cafe almost exclusively whenever I was in Chinatown. These days, I find myself going to Gourmet Dumpling House more than 50% of the time when I’m in the neighborhood.
52 Beach St
Boston, MA 02111-2020
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