I have been feeling extremely under the weather lately. Something to do with a cold mating with asthma and turning me into one gigantic not-so-hot-mess. Alas, even I get bored of having congee, chicken soup and poached chicken, so I asked Grant to accompany me to fulfill some dumpling cravings.
To be honest, neither of us knew where to go. Usually I make won-tons at home or buy the cheap Korean stuff (just as good as the Japanese brands and at 1/2 the price!) from the Oriental Costcutters (may be now it’s called Oriental Basics? Asian Basics? God knows, it changes names often) as I find most dumpling places subpar in London. I knew I didn’t like Leong’s Legends (which I found out is now closed anyways) so we were pretty much down to Dumplings Legends and Beijing Dumpling. An aggregated search of multiple websites informed me that Beijing Dumpling was better- so there.
We were so glad we went for lunch! It was AMAZING! The Internet was right! (You don’t need us anymore!) I supposed I should still tell you about it though…
We ordered 3 types of dumplings- the crab/pork siu long bao, some spicy chicken soupy dumplings and pan-fried pork dumplings. The crab/pork siu long bao had acceptably thin skin (it could be thinner) with a fair amount of soup in it and perfectly balanced filling- the great thing about having *slightly* thicker skin is that they were more robust- and none of our 8 dumplings burst, even when I knocked one over and handled it pretty roughly. SCORE! (And I’d give it annnnn eiiiiiiiight).
Pan-fried dumplings has been one of my favourites since childhood and although these were a little different (the ones I normally get in Hong Kong comes in a more bao-esq skin, these were fried northern chinese dumplings), they were fantastic. Perfectly fried (anemic frying really grinds me), may be a tiny bit under salted (mixing a wee bit of soy with my vinegar sorted that) and reminded me so much of family meals in Hong Kong (because that was always the thing I chose to order, we are a very democratic family and everyone usually get to choose something, or something you love gets chosen for you, no patriarchal menu dictatorship for us). Grant was as always a sweetie and gave me more (because they only had 3 to a small portion. Pout.)
The spicy chicken dumplings finished it off. It was a little deceiving to say it’s a “dumpling soup”-more dumplings boiled and served in water (don’t drink it!). This wasn’t very spicy at all (and you know what a chicken I am!) but was very nicely seasoned and great tasting all the same. I always find that northern chinese dumplings are quite heavy, but they really are perfect for winter weather as they are very filling and warming.
Being greedykins, we also ordered some spicy honey chicken wings, which again were very mild but a great combo of gentle spice, sweet and soy- very morish and some fried courgette- token veggies for the day. These were tempurered slices from a giant courgette and though I felt that the batter was a bit heavy, Grant loved them. They were very crispy and fresh though…
All in all, a fantastic lunch and a great alternative to ramen if you’re feeling like an asian hug in a bowl (or steamer). We went to the bakery around the corner to get Grant some traditional chinese treats afterwards, but his adventures with the ‘old wife cake’ is a story for another time.
Price: Just under 20 a head but we were extremely greedy as always.
23 Lisle Street