I grew up making dumplings at home. I thought all dumplings had the signature pan fried bottoms and pleated folds. The first time I encountered northern Chinese style dumplings was during my trip to Beijing in 2008. There, I realized that most of the dumplings in Beijing did not really have pleats but instead looked sort of pressed together.
What I love the most about a good northern-style dumpling is the thicker chewy "Q" skin. Because they are a bit bigger, you can stuff more filling in them, and it can get quite creative. In Beijing we tried all sorts of fun dumplings with fillings like water chestnuts, pumpkin, fennel, various types of greens, corn, etc.
One of the most well-known and popular no-fuss "hole-in-the-wall" northern dumpling spot in Hong Kong is Northern Dumpling Yuan. This popular spot has multiple locations throughout Hong Kong and serves up a large variety of tasty, handmade northern style dumplings served in many different ways.
These dumplings are very good. The skin is relatively thin and reasonably chewy (though I personally wished for just a bit more al dente texture). Everything was served hot and fresh, and overall we though the flavors of the various dumplings were very good.,
My favorite from my first visit was the shrimp and yellow chive dumpling, which had a lovely balance of flavors including the strong fragrance from the yellow chives. My second favorite was the pork mushroom and coriander dumpling, which was also quite nice.
On top of dumplings, Northern Dumpling Yuan also offers wontons, wonton noodle soups, and a wide variety of small "side" dishes, including some more unusual offerings such as cold slices of braised donkey (!) and pork knuckle.
I found the noodles to be quite soft. They looked like mixian (米線), the Yunnan-style rice noodles, but they were not as chewy.
All in all, I like the fact there is a Northern Dumpling Yuan really close to my house. It's the perfect type of place to go on a day when you want good, simple comfort food that tastes great, won't break the bank, and is relatively quick and convenient. For even greater convenience, you can buy their dumplings frozen to keep at home. That way, if you don't even feel like leaving home, you will always have some excellent dumplings that you can easily cook up and enjoy at any time.
Northern Dumpling Yuan Wan Chai
259 Queen’s Road East, Wanchai
Other locations at Central, Causeway Bay,North Point, Mong Kok, and Shau Kei Wan
This is the twenty-first post in the updated #50Postsin50Days – Take 2 Challenge. Other posts in this series will be added to the bottom of the original post.