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Sep 13, 2013 10:18 AM

Patty Chen's Dumpling Room

A quick lunch, No. Worth the wait, Yes!
I just had the first of many leisurely lunches at the Dumpling Room. We started with the Beijing Ravioli and the Soupy Pork Buns. They were so good that we wanted more so we placed an order for Veggie Dumplings to go.
I had had Patty’s dumplings at All Asia so I couldn’t wait to taste some of her other creations. The soupy pork buns hit the spot. I could eat them every day. Since the dumplings are made to order be prepared to wait.

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    1. re: peregrine

      Central Square, Cambridge - formerly Pu Pu Hot Pot.

      1. When you say a wait, how long are you talking?

        4 Replies
        1. re: jgg13

          Soup dumplings generally take 20 minutes to prepare and 10 minutes to cool enough to eat so there's half of an hour lunch.

          1. re: trufflehound

            I was aski specifically about e experience here, ie is t longer than one might expect for dumplings

            1. re: jgg13

              When I was there Friday, they said it would be about 45 minues. It was a full house and their first friday being open.

              1. re: Snowflake

                Cool, thanks. I find myself in central square frequently - but with the sort of time windows where 15 mins or so could make or break my chances of reasonably being able to go there so I was curious if we were takling 20 mins, 30, 40, or more.

        2. I only went to All-Asia once or twice in its very early days, and don't recall it as being very good. Did I miss the good part of the menu, or did a new chef come along later, or did they start slow and get better?

          27 Replies
          1. re: MC Slim JB

            Food wasn't always a central part of the All-Asia experience and they've tried several formats throughout the years. Patty's dad was the star cook at one point, I know, only on certain days, and he did head Pu Pu Hot Pot back in the day. Patty and her husband Marc are an entertaining and entrepreneurial couple, everyone who know them loves them. None the less, Patty is the real deal, from Taiwan and has cooked all her life. I've had her food at events and she even made dumplings on the spot for me once at All-Asia when I came with a mutual friend. Organization is not their strong point, so I can see long delays on opening day.

            1. re: tatsu

              Is the older man who used to run Pu Pu Hot Pot Patty's dad? He was such a great guy, super hospitable.

              1. re: dulce de leche

                There was a great guy in the kitchen (who sometimes waited tables, too) and who was super hospitable.

                And a surly, beleaguered front of the house manager who was no relation, I'm pretty sure.

                Where have they gone? I miss them, and my staving off a cold infusion of their hot and sour soup.

                I looked at the menu, and I love dumplings. But--no soup? No noodles? No steamed buns? No hargau? Really, how long will can they last?

                1. re: femmevox

                  <I looked at the menu, and I love dumplings. But--no soup? No noodles? No steamed buns? No hargau? Really, how long will/ can they last?>

                  My thoughts exactly. I was going to guess they want to get their feet under them but it sounds like they've had restnt for years............

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    On the other hand, I've long thought that Boston needs a dedicated dumpling restaurant that serves a quality product. (The biggest joke about Gourmet Dumpling House, other than the fact that people stand in line to eat there, is that their dumplings are just plain awful.) If the dumplings are good, I'm happy for them to take my money, and they can ignore all the other things they're "supposed" to have.

                    1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                      I share the same thought. If the dumplings are good, I'd be happy to visit frequently.
                      It's not like we need another place that serves Har Gau dumplings....plenty of them around already.

                      1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                        Right. I'd be sad if they were forced to reconcept away from dumpling restaurant and towards something more closely representing what people want out of an ameri-chinese restaurant.

                        1. re: jgg13

                          The things I mentioned didn't have anything to do with being an "American-Chinese restaurant."

                          Typically the places that serve dumplings in Chinatown (to Chinese people!) also have steamed buns and congee.

                          IS a restaurant that just serves dumplings and nothing else authentically Asian? Love to know from someone who knows.

                          My guess is that it's more contemporary Asian trendy, like maybe some recent restaurants in Hong Kong. I doubt there are restaurants with a menu like Patty Chen's in China.

                          1. re: femmevox

                            Define authentic. Are you suggesting that in all of asia there might not be a single eatery that only serves dumplings?

                            1. re: femmevox

                              On the contrary - dumpling specialty places are far more common in Asia (at least in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the few spots in China I've hit few and far between). In general I find these places more open and conducive to specialist vendors than in the states, where there is a mentality that you need mass market appeal and have a little bit of everything on the menu, even if it's not your strength.

                              One of my favorite places in HK is a small chain which pretty much only sell tangyuan (the little rice ball dumplings), in different flavors and varieties.

                          2. re: Jenny Ondioline

                            Exactly. It was such a dissapointment for me at GDH. They were gross. And we ordered like 2 orders of dumplings, which is a lot plus other food. I mean you can get decent enough dumplings in plenty of other places. But a really great dumpling restaurant--I can't wait to try it, just don't tease us again!

                            1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                              Isn't the chinese name of GDH something completely different and not related to dumplings?

                              Kind of like how Thailand Cafe became a total misnomer but the chinese name was something else.

                              1. re: jgg13

                                Yes, their name translates to "south-north taste/flavor/style" and doesn't refer to dumplings at all. Same with Dumpling Cafe too - their name I think is south-north peace/harmony.

                                I've never found GDH's dumplings gross, but I haven't made many trips given the redonk lines. I thought their shandong pan fried dumplings were pretty good, but their xiaolong bao only meh. I found the local Taipei Cuisine xiaolong bao (in Quincy) far better than GDH.

                            2. re: opinionatedchef

                              They've actually had at least to restaurants for years - all Asia and pu pu were both the same family

                              1. re: jgg13

                                Argh - s/to/two. stupid ipad.

                              2. re: opinionatedchef

                                OC, i ordered dumplings and convinced them to let me come back and pick them up. They do have soup, hot and sour and miso soup though the portions were small. I liked the dumplings which i steamed to reheat; i especially liked the vegan dumplings.

                                I did not try them, but i assume that soupy pork buns are steamed buns.

                                1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                  thx c. BTW, i do believe that 'soupy pork buns' are those 'soup dumplings' that you bite into and the broth comes squirting out.

                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                    i did not try them; from what i understood, they are not soup dumplings.

                                    by the way, given how soup dumplings are made; they are ancient hypermodern food. yummy, to boot.

                                    1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                      what could "soupy pork buns" be if they are not xiao long bao?

                                      1. re: Prav

                                        i did not have them; i will try them.

                                        1. re: Prav

                                          Had them tonight. They are not xiao long bao. No liquid and had a thick skin. But they were sealed with a twist and not folded over like the others we tried. Still tasty though.

                                          1. re: viperlush

                                            So soupy pork buns with no soup. This is when I really wish they had a Chinese menu (that is with Chinese characters - not some secret menu for those in the clan).

                                            1. re: kobuta

                                              Could they be sheng jian bao?

                                              1. re: saria


                                                according to this, those are the soup buns w/ gelatin inside that melts.

                                                1. re: saria

                                                  That is closer to what they looked like. But, no liquid or undissolved gelatin.

                                                  1. re: viperlush

                                                    In all fairness, most shengjian bao I've had aren't nearly as soupy as xiaolong bao, but the filling shouldn't be dry. Perhaps this is more of an execution error, but I wouldn't translate shengjian bao into English as soupy pork buns either.

                                                    1. re: kobuta

                                                      I've had sheng jian bao with no soup (Andrea Nguyen's recipe doesn't include it at all, for example), and they're more steamed bun (being yeast-raised) than dumpling, so I wondered if they were maybe closer to that than xiao long bao based on how they were described.

                          3. My niece and nephew will be crushed that there is no longer Pu Pu Hot Pot to giggle at when visiting.

                            1. I hit this up last night around 7:30 for dinner. According to the host, that was their first official day of being open. Had the veggie dumplings, taipei, kimchee, and emperor.

                              The Good: All were good, with the kimchee and emperor being the favorites. Look forward to going back and trying the rest.

                              The Bad: Service was SLOW. To be expected on opening day but worth noting. We were there almost two hours. At one point, Patty came out to apologize to the restaurant for the pacing and looked visibly stressed. Every dumpling is made to order which I'm not sure is sustainable if they want to turn tables.

                              Overall: Delicious dumplings and I am excited to go back in a month or two when service kinks are worked out.