Thursday, June 14, 2012

Beijing Dumpling, 2nd June

After a day of strolling along the Southbank, attempting to get in the mood for the Jubilee by looking at the tall ships lining the Thames, we had worked up quite the appetite. My two companions were in the mood for Chinese and so I persuaded them to go to a place on my list – Beijing Dumpling.

I found this place because one day I suddenly recalled the soupy dumplings I’d had in New York and wondered if I could find them here. I did some research and found a couple of potential places. Beijing Dumplings sounded the best of the two and made the list. As we walked in, the place was quite full but we were able to be seated within a few minutes of arriving. In the window by the entrance you see the women cooks making the dumplings by hand and they looked good. Coupled with the warm and welcoming décor, slightly unusual for a place in Chinatown, we thought we’d come to a decent place.

Almost forgot to take a picture!
Unfortunately, I have to report that the food was a bit of a let down. I was actually pretty happy with my two dishes, but my dining partners fared less well. I had come for the dumplings and so dumplings I had. You can have soupy dumplings, or soupy dumplings in soup. I chose spicy pork dumplings without soup, and then a side of salt and pepper chicken. You get about 10 dumplings in a serving so this seemed more than enough food. They come in a steamed basket and at first I was disappointed. They were tiny and didn’t seem to have any soup in them! But they did, just not all that much, so in a few of them, the juice seemed to have evaporated. But in others there was enough for me to do the ritual of making a small hole, pouring out the soup into my spoon to enjoy, and then eating the rest dipped into the vinegar provided. And they were yummy. My other gripe with them is that Stephen got the regular pork dumplings, and there wasn’t much difference in the level of spiciness between them.

My second dish of chicken was lightly floured chicken, then fried and it was quite a light, tasty dish. Definitely the best of the lot bar the dumplings.

Stephen ordered beef ho fun with his dumplings and declared that he’d had better elsewhere. There weren’t enough peppers and onions included, and the noodles weren’t as good as in other places. 

Oh dear, looks a bit slimy
The third in our party had a mini-banquet in comparison.  I tried each of his dishes and wasn’t impressed with any of them. First he had a hot and sour soup which was weirdly thick and claggy. I'm doing you a favour by not having a picture of it. Then he had some chicken and cashews which was exactly what it said it was – no more, no less, no sauce. Actually, that wasn’t too bad, it just wasn’t that exciting either.

And finally, he had chow mein, which was a little dry and underwhelming. I had no food envy whatsoever.

I may go back for the dumplings, but I wouldn’t bother with anything else. And if I can find somewhere that’s less stingy with the soup, I may not go back at all! Does anyone have any xiao long bao (soupy dumpling) suggestions?

Beijing Dumpling on Urbanspoon

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