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How to ring in the year of the Rabbit

Neon suits Chinatown. The bright lights of this little city within the big city glow and glare evocatively outside the cutely named Dumpling Café, just over a month old.

Neon suits Chinatown. The bright lights of this little city within the big city glow and glare evocatively outside the cutely named Dumpling Café, just over a month old.

Chinese food might not be an automatic ringer for a warming winter meal, but try Dumpling’s Szechwan-style steamed flounder, a spicy stew loaded with tender white fish and served with steamed rice. Winter ain’t so bad now, is it?

Dumpling’s chef-owners Peter Wang and Charlie Chow, who also head the nearby Taiwan Café, have created an expansive, inclusive menu that features the familiar (sticky, lightly sweet Kung Pao shrimp) with the enticingly novel (omelet style pancakes filled with big, succulent oysters) and the head-turningly exotic (chilled jellyfish). There are echoes of Chinese traditions of food as medicine: The chilled bitter melon with raw garlic and a light coating of toasted sesame oil is a digestif; an antidote to heavy, especially fried food.

Comforting, filling entrees are one thing — but it’s fun to pick your way through Dumpling’s freshly made appetizers and namesakes: The Taiwanese-style mini juicy buns are unmissable. Also known as soup buns, these rice dough pockets are stuffed with pork and crab; and somehow, miraculously, there’s a good mouthful of broth inside too. Don’t end up with soup on your T-shirt, though. Bite a tiny hole and suck the soup out first. But you knew that, didn’t you.

Chinese New Year Special

Dine like a king and pay like a pauper: Dumpling Cafe offers a Chinese New Year special dinner for two — repeat, two — that includes two entrees, an appetizer, fried rice, soup, soft drinks and tea for $20.95. It runs today through Feb. 28. Happy New Year!

Dumpling Café
695 Washington St., Boston
617-338-8859
www.dumplingcafe.com

 
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