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ISO: Chinese Dumplings

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I would love some recommendations for good Chinese dumplings. I live near Rosslyn/Courthouse, so places in that area are preferable, but I am willing to travel if necessary. I like the dumplings at Chinatown Express, but it can be a pain to get to.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. It's way far out of the way but China Bistro/Mama's Dumplings in Rockville has been consistently excellent for the last 3 years. There's a big thread about them floating around somewhere.

    1. Depends on the type of dumplings you want but Miu Kee in Falls Church has the best dumplings (ones in soup, not the appetizer type) I've had.

      1. Full Kee in DC has an awesome Shrimp Dumpling soup - I haven't had any of their other dumplings though...

        1 Reply
        1. re: tommyskitchen

          Also at the Full Kee location at Bailey's Crossroads. I could stand a bowl of that for lunch.

        2. All good choices above. A & J has both juicy pork dumplings which are supposed to be soup dumplings but are really more just good steamed dumplings and a pan fried dumpling which is really good: a thick dough covering with a log of meat filling, pan steamed then fried till crispy on the bottom that are really good. Outrageously good small plates. I have not eaten at the Annandale branch but I imagine it to be fairly similar in quality to the Rockville one if not identical.

          I am not a fan of Mama's fried dumplings as much as some, thinking the wrapper on their dumplings a little too thick. I really like them steamed. The small plates are really good. The soups and other cooked dishes have disappointed from too much thickener.

          Not Chinese, but On Gad Gib on little River Turnpike behind the Jerry's Subs has great dumplings (Man Doo) both fried and in soup.

          1 Reply
          1. re: deangold

            I like A&J's for the most part but didn't care for their pan fried dumplings--too doughy w/out enough flavor. But, I haven't had them in Rockville, only Annandale. I wonder where A&J's food comes from--since it is a chain. I'd be interested in seeing how consistent the food is in different locations.

          2. Every Chowhound fan of Chinese dumplings should make the pilgrimage to China Bistro in Rockville. They are light years better than Chinatown Express (of which I'm a fan). As Dean says above, always order them steamed.

            The ma la wontons at the Great Wall on 14th street are also great, but they are Sichuan, so swimming in red hot sauce. If you can brave the spiciness, they are outrageous.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Steve

              Steamed or boiled? Xiao Long Bao are steamed, but the traditional dumplings are usually boiled.

              Dumpings are very simple to make, and that's what we do in our house. Buy ground pork or ground your own, add seasoning (soy sauce, sesame oil) and add the veggies (we like napa cabbage or chinese leeks) and wrap. I usually wrap about 100-150 in a sitting and then freeze whatever we don't eat right away. They keep a long time in the freezer. I like them boiled and also potstickers (fried). I wrap them and the wife cooks them. We both do the eating part :)

              1. re: Steve

                Have to respectfully disagree there. I tried those Great Wall dumplings on board recommendations, and I found them downright unpleasant. The filling tasted like it was some unidentifiable substance, and they struck me as just reheated frozen garbage. Maybe it was an off night and they usually make their own (unlikely), but this is certainly not a dumpling destination in my experience!!

                1. re: hamster

                  I tried Mama's Dumplings/China Bistro a week ago for the first time. Loved it!
                  I also thought the hot & sour soup and scallion pancake were excellent...

                  1. re: hamster

                    FYI: the wontons at the Great Wall are true wontons, not really dumplings, meaning they have a much thicker skin. Sorry you don't love them, but I think they 're a knockout. The filling is made from chicken. I doubt it was an off night, they are just not to your taste.

                    1. re: Steve

                      Never had chicken in a dumpling in Taiwan when I grew up. I still find the thought of ground chicken disgusting.

                      1. re: Ericandblueboy

                        Then you wouldn't like b'stilla, a Moroccan pie often made with ground chicken.

                        1. re: Steve

                          I've only had them Morocco (with chicken and pigeon), too sweet for my liking.

                2. Chinese dumplings come in many shapes in forms.

                  Wontons....commercial wraps are thick....very little filling with lots of wrapping....the good ones use homemade wraps which are thin (with texture like chow fun) and they're not eaten fried, always in soup (Cantonese) or in spicy sauce (Sichuan).

                  dumplings (jiao zi)....boiled or pan fried (called pot stickers, only fried on the bottom in a pan)...with many different kind of filling, traditionally with pork and leeks or napa cabbage. This you can get at Mama's Dumplings (with many different fillings) or Peking Village on Gallows Road. It's a northern Chinese thing, good versions can also be found at Korean restaurants (but none that I know of in the DC area). Gyoza is lame in comparison. If it's deep fried (fried crispy all around), it's a restaurant taking a short-cut.

                  Little dragon buns (juicy buns, shao lon bao) - these are steamed and they are a Shanghai delicacy. Served with a ginger, soy and vinegar sauce. These are perhaps the most prized and you can find the best probably at Din Tai Fund in L.A. We buy the Wei-Chuan brand at Great Wall. Buy them and eat them as soon as possible. The longer you freeze them, the more likely the skin cracks and you lose the juice.

                  At dim sum - other dumplings you can find: shrimp dumplings, shark fin dumplings, siu mai, fen guo, leeks dumpling....maybe more. These are dim sum specialties.

                  BTW, don't eat chicken dumplings - they're just lame.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Ericandblueboy

                    IIUC, there is so much regional variation. Hong you chow shou (I have seen this as chow so, plus other spellings) are the thin Sichuan dumplings. Sichuan wonton (also called heen ten, one is Mandarin, the other Cantonese) are thick with smaller filling. Nothing to do with commercialism, handmade pasta can come in a variety of thicknesses, it is a question of personal preference. Sometimes I like the sheer stuff, and sometimes the thick. It's like the difference between silken tofu and pressed tofu, can be effective either way depending on the use.