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Lao Bei Fang Dumpling House, Elmhurst

m
MumonA Mar 10, 2004 09:54 PM

I've always enjoyed a plateful of freshly boiled dumplings, or even fried if they haven't been sitting around. But as a Woodside resident, I simply refuse to travel to Flushing or Manhattan for the express purpose of eating them. So, I was happy to find Lao Bei Fang Dumpling House in Elmhurst, Queens.

It's a typical Five Fried Dumplings For A Buck operation, with minimal decor. There's one table for four, ringed by about 10 stools at the counter. Actually, they also have a bathroom, so it's a cut above its counterparts in that respect.

The fried dumplings are pork and chive (5 for $1). They offer a "steamed" (more like vigorously boiled) version of the same, with a minimum order of 10 for $2. Also steamed are pork and nappa dumplings, as well as "vegetable" and "triple delight" options (the latter two are 8 for $2). They had three more hand-scrawled dumpling offerings in Chinese.

I had a plate of the boiled pork and chive dumplings, and one of the mystery options. While the distinction may be trivial when we're talking five-for-a-buck dumplings, I liked the fact that the pork is minced, not ground. I don't know enough about Chinese dumpling to determine whether this a regional difference or an idiosyncrasy of this place's dumpling maker. I do know that the resulting texture of the filling is more resilient than the ground/paste versions in a pleasing way.

The mystery filling seemed to have a slight bitter green mixed into the pork. At first I thought it was yu choi (Chinese broccoli?), but then I tasted a bit a mustardy-ness. Whatever it was, the assertive herbal note was a welcome contrast.

The rest of the menu is filled out by various types of buns, sesame pancakes and noodle soups (nothing more than $4). While the menu listing itself doesn't suggest anything special, the minced pork filling alone is enough for me to try their other offerings.

Does anyone know of other dumpling places in the area?

Happy eating,
Mumon

Lao Bei Fang Dumpling House
86-08 Whitney Ave.
Elmhurst, NY 11373
718-639-3996

Get off at Elmhurst stop on the R/V/G and it's about a two minute walk.

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Lao Bei Fang
83-05 Broadway, Queens, NY 11373

  1. j
    JH Jill Mar 10, 2004 11:39 PM

    Thanks for the review. If this is the one right off the bridge over the LIE (and it must be), I was just driving by today and commenting how I always meant to stop but there's no parking right there. I think it's the only one in this neck of the woods because I travel most of the backroads in JH, Corona and Elmhurst and haven't seen any others.

    2 Replies
    1. re: JH Jill
      r
      Russell Mar 12, 2004 09:25 PM

      Go to Ping's on Queens Boulevard 1 block west of Grand Avenue also in Elmhurst.

      1. re: JH Jill
        j
        JH Jill Mar 21, 2004 06:31 PM

        Actually, I'm posting this to correct myself and let people know that there is another dumpling house. The one on the bridge is on Hampton Street just off Corona Ave. It's called Shu Zhe Dumpling Heaven. I still haven't tried it thought.

      2. t
        tokimoki Apr 17, 2011 01:01 AM

        They moved to a new place on Broadway. Bigger space with real seating. Their old place has new owners with a new sign/name. Both carry dumplings but I think I prefer the old place with the new owners. It's cheaper and dumplings are served hot.

        4 dumplings at the Whitney address cost $1.25 & $1.50 at the Broadway place. Dumplings pretty much taste the same except that Lao's has that slight perfumy fragrance.

        83-05 Broadway
        Elmhurst, NY 11373

        11 Replies
        1. re: tokimoki
          squid kun Apr 17, 2011 02:03 AM

          Interesting. What's the name of the new place on Whitney?

          1. re: squid kun
            t
            tokimoki Apr 17, 2011 02:22 AM

            Lao Kou Wei Dumpling House

            http://www.flickr.com/photos/eatingin...

            -----
            Lao Kou Wei
            86-08 Whitney Ave, Queens, NY 11373

            1. re: tokimoki
              squid kun Apr 17, 2011 02:38 AM

              Thanks!

          2. re: tokimoki
            Joe MacBu May 19, 2011 11:13 PM

            I agree. I've visited both the old and new places twice recently, and find the dumplings at Lao Kau Wei to be superior to Lao Bei Fang's. The ones at LKW have a more tender wrapper - LBF's are drier and unpleasantly chewy. But LBF now has little plates (e.g. cucumbers w garlic, smoked tofu w celery) and ma la tang with choice of ingredients.

            -----
            Lao Bei Fang
            83-05 Broadway, Queens, NY 11373

            1. re: Joe MacBu
              Jeffsayyes May 20, 2011 07:45 AM

              I was definitely into the LKW too. It was slightly more tender than the old ones. Also, LBF is raelly busy now. It's great to see that place in full gear and everyone happy. much better than the 2nd location, hot pot.

              BTW, hot pot place coming in across the street to the new LBF. should be interesting.

              1. re: Jeffsayyes
                a
                AubWah May 20, 2011 10:24 AM

                I wonder if the revelatory niu nan shou la mian is still at the original location

                1. re: AubWah
                  Joe MacBu May 20, 2011 01:23 PM

                  LKW looks EXACTLY like LBF used to in that location. Down to the handwritten menus and the grime spots (I mean that lovingly). So they have the niu nan shou la mian, but I haven't tried it yet.

              2. re: Joe MacBu
                scoopG May 20, 2011 02:33 PM

                Too bad, the owner of LBF - at least the woman I spoke to - was so friendly!

                1. re: scoopG
                  d
                  diprey11 May 20, 2011 07:24 PM

                  Ms Wang, the lady boss in a baseball cap (she speaks with a Northern accent), is so radiant, she and her husband are wonderful hosts. Unfortunately, I feel that the dumpling quality went way down and the price went up. No idea why: I used to be their biggest fanboy!

                  Their hotpot is great for the location, but in absolute quality terms it is just OK. I always liked their beef noodle soup (with either tripe or tendon), but the last time I tried it the noodles were mushy, and the fennel (茴香) bolied dumplings, thick-skinned and chewy. Bad luck, maybe? Their scallion pancake was as perfect texture-wise as ever, so they have maintained the skill of heat control. :-)

                  1. re: scoopG
                    Jeffsayyes May 21, 2011 07:58 AM

                    don't feel bad. they are doing great in their new location. no hot pot, just more dumplings, noodles and more.

                  2. re: Joe MacBu
                    t
                    tokimoki May 22, 2011 03:50 AM

                    At LKW, you are served directly from the kitchen. Dumplings are always served from those giant covered wok pans. They never sit around in open air or under heat lamps. At LBF, not so much. They were pre-made and sitting around, which makes them dry. If you nuke them at home, they pretty much have the same juicy texture as LKW.

                2. Peter Cuce Oct 21, 2011 09:31 PM

                  I tried Lao Bei Fang for lunch today. The hand pulled noodles have a nice chewy texture and they give you a huge portion of them in the #27 Beef & Tendon soup, which has a great broth, for $5.25. I'd order that any time.
                  The dumplings, on the other hand, were quite disappointing, both the fried and the boiled ones, with overly thick wrappers and not-particularly-tasty innards.
                  As ScoopG mentions, everyone that works there is very friendly.

                  -----
                  Lao Bei Fang
                  83-05 Broadway, Queens, NY 11373

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