The King of Dumplings: Dumpling King – Yonge & Finch location (lengthy review + pics)
Thanks oohlala, chester_elegante, and other CHers for posting this one. In this tiny little restaurant at Yonge and Finch at the base of a condo community, you can get some pretty stellar home-style dumplings for a good price. $5.99 - $6.99 will get you 16 dumplings. For the price, it would be difficult to find something as satisfying – if dumplings are on the brain. Went with an acquaintance that just got back from China and she said that she would definitely be returning as it was comparable to better dumplings she would find at home. She was excited to find this place as it was comfort food from her home country. The restaurant is very small and seats about 20. They do not offer Cantonese-style "woh teep" that are pan-fried, so I cannot compare to this style.
I have been to the one at Finch and Midland, in the same mall as Keung’s Delight – and that one is definitely not related to this establishment. I found the dumplings there to be too pork heavy and the flavours just not as varied and novel. I ordered a bunch there a few years back, and every one of them came out tasting exactly the same.
As the previous posters mentioned, they offered non-pork dumplings and that is precisely what I ordered. Boiled fish dumplings, followed by steamed chive and chicken egg dumplings, alongside steamed chicken and veggie dumplings. To add a bit of variation, I tried the fried seafood dumpling as well. For apps, I sampled the cold tofu strips, per oohlala’s recommendation as well as out of curiosity. I had never had it before, so I am always up for a change.
OK, so this turned out to be way too much food to feed two, but since it was such a long ways away, I doubted that I would make it there frequently and wanted to sample everything they had. So the meal ended up costing $18 per person including tax/tip and (smallish) lunch for today. I still cannot believe I ate about 22 dumplings in one sitting.
The fish dumplings were the strongest of the bunch (IMO): Amazing texture and a sweet flavouring. Next best was the tofu noodle. It was unlike anything else I had ever tried and it was cold and refreshing. Great texture in the tofu gave the dish some bite. A nice dash of spiciness really elevated the dish. Next best – the fried seafood dumpling. At first I was scared to try a fried dumpling (do you mean ‘pan-fried’? who has ever heard of deep fried dumplings? Thanks to the CHers for the heads-up on this one), but my worries were quickly settled when I tasted these sweet delights. There was a nice coating of spice on the surface of the dumpling wrapper that added contrast to the sweetness of its interior. The wrapper was crisp and light as well – not too thick at all. The next best was the chicken egg + chive dumpling. Light and fresh tasting. The egg gave it an unusual texture as I am usually more accustomed to either veggies or meat in my dumplings. Chives added a nice flavour element. I would definitely order the aforementioned dishes again. Note that some combinations are better than others (ie type of dumpling and preparation method). In our case, we gave the chef free reign and they prepared it the best way they thought would compliment each type of dumpling.
Fish dumpling: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
Fish Inside: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
Seafood dumpling: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
Seafood inside: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
Egg & Chive: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
Egg & Chive inside: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
The chicken and veggie dumpling was the only average dumpling – as one would expect. This was the only dish that I would not order again next time as there was way too much food and if I had to cut something out, this would be the one. But in no way was it a bad dumpling. It just wasn’t as good as the others.
After dinner, there was still room (after 20 odd pieces) for the dessert chester_elegante mentioned. A great treat in the convenience store across the street in the form of a fish ice cream cone. Ice cream literally IN a cone the shape of a fish. It also had red bean paste. Sweet, cool and refreshing. Nice and light, not a dense, rich ice cream. Cone was stale (reminded me of the typical cardboard cone that comes from the grocery store), but hey, it was around $1.25. - what can you really say? I really enjoyed this and would stop by again next time. They also had a coffee flavoured one, but since it wasn’t fish-shaped, I was less-inclined to try it. Maybe next time since my friend really loved the food and would likely want to return.
Though I wouldn’t make this a regular stop, nor would I likely drive all the way out there for a dumpling or two on a regular basis as it’s about a 30 minute drive for me, I would definitely return if I were in the neighbourhood and craved some comfort food for a good price. Service was also great, though the man did not speak a word of English. Their menu is simple enough to navigate though. He was very gracious and humble and that added to the experience. Restaurant appears to be spotless. The dumplings were not the best dumplings I've ever had, and far from it. But for the price, quantity and for what they are, they were very tasty. Great find.
Thanks for the tip, CHers.
Cheers and Happy Eating!
15 Northtown Way, North York, Ontario - underneath a large condo community. Parking is very limited (parallel parking alongside the roundabout). Accessible best by TTC (Finch station on the Yonge line)
I tried the tofu 'noodles'. Unusual and tasty, with a little kick. Deep fried seafood dumplings, as weird as it sounded, were also better than I expected. The owner isn't familiar with the pan-fried style, but that's fine. I just pick up from the stellar frozen dumpling/bun place at the West Beaver Creek (Ambassador) plaza and make my own.
I love this place. The steamed dumplings are incredible -- the seafood dumpling is incredible, full of flavour (better than the fish, which is also really good). The beef dumplings (also steamed) are just perfect, and the tofu noodles are amazing. Much better than Mother's Dumplings. Since you get so many, it is great that leftovers work perfectly (we steam them the next day, and they keep well).
This is also the NICEST man (owner?) in the world. He walks you to the door when you are done, and checks in with you all the time to make sure you are happy. The other day, we sent a relative to pick up 3 orders, and he didn't have cash with him -- the owner sent him home with the food, without paying (we went back right after and paid!).
The owner is incredibly nice, isn't he? On one last visit, he was discussing how he would love to source fresh chickens for dumplings. He hasn't been able to find something satisfactory thus far, and was thinking about starting his own farm. How fantastic would that be if that took off? Best Chicken dumpling in town perhaps?
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What time does this place open daily? Thinking of eating here this morning, before I return to Montreal, but it has to open early(no later than around 10am) for me to make it today. I'm guessing it won't open until at least 10:30am at the earliest.