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Wang's Somerville

lissy May 21, 2007 07:27 PM

A group of us headed to Wang's tonight on Broadway in Somerville and as usual, we had a ball and ate lots of great food. We started by ordering a bunch of their homemade dumplings: Pork with leek, chicken with chinese cabbage, shrimp and pork, and chinese vegetables. I think each plate of dumplings was around a dozen pieces which meant we each got to try every type (especially those of us who hadn't started our evenings at KO Prime with apps!). My faves were the pork with leek (I took a bag of 50 frozen home for $12.60) and the shrimp and pork. We also started with the scallion pancakes and the vegeterian leek pie which I had never had before and really liked. I thought it might be more like a scallion pancake but this was more of a stuffed pie versus the pancakes which had the scallions mixed in. We then moved onto (I think) the spicy chinese cabbage which I thought was similar to kim chee and the cucumbers in garlic sauce which were light, garlicy and refreshing and a nice contrast to some of the spicier food we ordered. We also got a shredded pork with plum sauce that truth be told, I never would have chosen to order on my own but was one of my favorite dishes of the night. Next was a very spicy shredded beef with peppers that I found delicious but a wee bit hotter than I prefer and the shredded potato in vinegar sauce that almost seemed as though the potato was raw (it might have been blanched). It too had spicy pepper in it that for the most part I thought flavored the dish nicely but when actually biting into the peppers was HOT HOT HOT. Anyway, as the night went on and this dish sat, I liked it better than at first with the vinegar really soaking into the potatoes. We also got some sort of tofu dish that I'm sure someone else will comment on. The service was great, efficient and friendly. The highlight of my night was my trip to the bathroom through the kitchen where I saw them making all those fabulous homemade dumplings. When I ordered my batch to go, they made sure to tell me to boil and not steam them...thanks for the tip...I needed that! Anyway we brought in our own beer and wine and the total bill for each of us was $11...no one could believe it! Thanks friends and chowhounds for another fun and fabulous night! Oh and I almost forgot we also ordered one of the nightly specials which was a crispy fish stick with sesame sauce but to me tasted like a general gau's and I didn't love this.

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  1. nfo RE: lissy May 21, 2007 08:41 PM

    Nice report - I've really got to try Wang's, I've wanted to for like a year now. I think if the peppers were left whole you're not necessarily meant to eat them - otherwise they'd probably be cut open. They're there to flavor the dish, and pepper fiends can eat them if they want.

    2 Replies
    1. re: nfo
      limster RE: nfo May 22, 2007 08:33 PM

      These peppers were meant to be eaten -- smokey, finely julienned to approximately the same dimensions as the beef. Definitely my pick for the evening.

      1. re: limster
        nfo RE: limster May 23, 2007 06:52 AM

        Yeah, I didn't realize that this was similar to the dish at Taiwan Cafe, which is one of my faves. Hearing that the version at Wang's is as good or better, I really have to get over there.

    2. beetlebug RE: lissy May 22, 2007 04:36 AM

      This was a hilarious dinner. The food was great and the company even better. Lots of laughing, shouting and just plain chomping down.

      I love Wang's dumplings. I think they are the best around and the quality is always consistent. My fave dumpling for the evening were the pork and leek and the chinese vegetables. Although, I think the staff brought us the vegetarian leek dumplings and not the chinese vegetable dumplings. The filling for these veggie dumplings were leeks, scrambled eggs and vermicelli. It's similiar to the filling within the leek pie.

      I really liked the spicy shredded beef with hot peppers. This version is better than Taiwan Cafe's version of beef with pomplano peppers. The peppers at Wang's had more crisp and more bite, and if I wasn't so full, I would have ordered some white rice to soak up the sauce. The pork with plum sauce was surprisingly tasty. Like Lissy, it's not something I would naturally gravitate towardsd, but once steered, I'm happy to munch.

      I'm also a big, big fan of Wang's versions of spicy chinese cabbage and the tofu with the preserved duck eggs. The cabbage has a definitive crunch and addictive flavor to it. (BTW, for all you Qingdao Garden fans, DO NOT order this there because it is inedible.). Wang's version of the tofu is also wonderful. Light and flavorful.

      I coudldn't believe that all that food was only $11 a head. I had two other hounds double check my math because it just didn't seem right. The table was overflowing with dishes and we were all satiated. Delicious and a bargain to boot.

      1 Reply
      1. re: beetlebug
        limster RE: beetlebug May 22, 2007 08:34 PM

        Really liked the spicy Chinese cabbage too. Nice touch of sesame seeds.

      2. yumyum RE: lissy May 22, 2007 05:56 AM

        The beef with poblanos was definitely superior to the Taiwan Cafe version ... as stated, the peppers were nice and crunchy and the beef was appropriately oily to carry the heat. They were julienned and meant to be eaten.

        I love Wang's dumplings although the skins on these were a little thicker than usual last night, or was that just me? I actually find this place is a tiny bit inconsistent -- the cold soy beef was better last night than it's been in the past. The spicy cabbage was delicious. The scallion pie wasn't so good (I still favor Mary Chung's version of this guilty pleasure).

        Fun night and a real bargain!

        5 Replies
        1. re: yumyum
          maillard RE: yumyum May 22, 2007 12:43 PM

          I bought some frozen dumplings from Wang's a few months ago and found them to have far thicker skins than the dumplings I'd bought from Qingdao last fall. Are they not usually so thick?

          1. re: maillard
            yumyum RE: maillard May 22, 2007 01:16 PM

            I find they vary. A hound I trust told me Wangs had lost their dumpling maker and the replacement was making slightly thicker skins. It's a real toss-up for me between Mulan and Wangs ... I vastly prefer the fillings at Wangs (pork with leek, OMG) but the overall dumpling experience at Mulan has been winning. Not a bad dilemma to have -- they are both delicious.

            1. re: maillard
              9
              9lives RE: maillard May 22, 2007 03:05 PM

              I bought a bag of dumplings from Wang's last night..and have a few left in the freezer from Mulan. I think Mulan's have a thinner skin and are a little better..haven't been to Qingdao in a while.

              More research required..:)

              1. re: 9lives
                limster RE: 9lives May 22, 2007 08:35 PM

                I had the dumplings at Qingdao recently and found the skins to be a little thinner. I think I slightly prefer the ones at Qingdao compared to Wang's, mostly on the basis of the skin.

                1. re: limster
                  Aromatherapy RE: limster May 23, 2007 04:52 AM

                  I think the skins at Wang's are a shade thicker than they used to be but I can't say it bothers me much as the dumplings still taste great. The fact that it's my local probably shades my opinion.

          2. gini RE: lissy May 22, 2007 06:10 AM

            Loved the leek pie - filled with leeks and vermicelli noodles and folder over like a half-circled hot pocket. So glad we ordered it so now it can become one of my staples. Dumplings were, of course, wonderful. Thanks to beetlebug for introducing us to the spicy cabbage dish - really great flavor and crisp bite. Also had the old favorite of soy sauced roast beef that was fabulous - heads above the version at Qingdoa.

            The fish sticks were....kind of gross and breaded and chewy in a bad way. It was the only special on the white board though, so I guess we had to try it.

            Well done on ordering the pork in plumb sauce, heathermb - again not something I've tried in the past but a great taste after all the peppers we ended up eating.

            The dinner was definitely raucous and fun - and seriously, $11 a person? That was insane.

            1. MichaelB RE: lissy May 22, 2007 07:50 AM

              Great report. The dumplings were great as always, the cold soy-sauce beef is great (better than Taiwan Cafe's version, which is less tender), the pork in plum sauce was great (also not something I'd ever noticed on the menu), as was the spicy pickled cabbage. I liked the spicy shredded beef, but I guess I'm an outlier as I much prefer the version at Taiwan Cafe - I think they call it beef with longhorn peppers - where they cook the peppers a bit more and they end up a bit sweeter and not quite as incendiary. I kinda liked the scallion pancake - really crispy but not TOO greasy. Overall a really great feast and super-cheap!

              1. Rubee RE: lissy May 22, 2007 08:17 AM

                Not much to add - great meal! First time at Wang's, but not my last, I've been wanting to go for a long time. Have to give a nod to Elbev, because I ordered the shredded beef with peppers due to an earlier post where Elbev mentioned it. Loved it, one of my favorites of the night. We really ordered well - I was a fan of everything except for the 'fish sticks' special. The slightly sweet glaze was fine, but the dough was thick and chewy. Everything else I would order again. A delicious meal and a great crowd, what more could you ask for.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Rubee
                  9
                  9lives RE: Rubee May 22, 2007 08:24 AM

                  I had been wanting to try Wang's for a while; and glad I finally made it. Loved the dumplings, spicy cabbage, leek pie, cold beef,poblano beef, and plum pork..also a refreshing cucumber dish. Potatos and tofu were ok. Didn't care for the fish sticks. I'm in the camp that thought the poblano beef was superior to Taiwan Cafe's..which I had last week. Better quality beef, cut larger..and just an overall fresher, more lively taste. I am a fan of heat..so factor that in.

                  Great meal and 50 pork/leek dumplings are in the freezer for future use.

                  Next time I go, I'll try to be hungrier..:)

                2. edgrimley RE: lissy May 23, 2007 07:17 AM

                  Great reports thanks - you guys should post some photos if you have a moment.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: edgrimley
                    yumyum RE: edgrimley May 23, 2007 07:25 AM

                    Our photographer was taking a break this time. :-) But hell, for short money you can go over and look at the dishes yourself!

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