Dumpling Cafe is a quaint hidden jewel located right in the bustling streets of Chinatown. Regardless of its small size, this restaurant packs a giant, affordably-priced menu that is sure to suit all taste buds.
Heading into Chinatown, I had only one dish in mind: Xiao long bao, their famous dumplings. Unlike usual, doughy dumplings, these are served as a soup with a choice of meat or vegetables.
The first bite of the dumpling was astonishing; the inside is filled with a mixture of pork and a spicy Chinese vinegar sauce. The edges of the steamed dumpling begin to meld into the soup mixture below, and the skin is a soft, thin steamed container for the mixture.
Eating a dumpling is a practice that one must learn to master, otherwise things might get messy. If you don’t want to immerse yourself in the culture, placing the dumpling on a spoon does the trick, but be careful not to burn yourself.
From top to bottom inside the restaurant, the interior is Taiwanese and Chinese décor and filled with tables; a long table shared among different guests takes up the entirety of the dining room. The walls are decorated with ivory horse sculptures and small wooden armoires that are tastefully decorated with Taiwanese Fengshui money cat ornaments. The rest of the walls are embellished with framed Chinese characters and the ceiling is ornamented with beautiful red Chinese lanterns.
Although this spot is in a very convenient location, the wait for a table is sometimes uncomfortable as one is practically standing over the other tables due to the size of the restaurant and its booming popularity rate. If crowds won’t deter you from enjoying these delectable dumplings, you’ll discover that a little discomfort is worth it. These Shanghai-style-steamed-broth dumplings are a Chinese delicacy that I would strongly recommend next time one is feeling adventurous in the downtown Boston area. Dumpling Cafe is located at 695 Washington Street in Boston.