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Dumpling House (Central Square)-- details & Chinese name?

The awning recently went up at Central's forthcoming Dumpling House, and it was reported that some of the partners in this venture are affiliated with Gourmet Dumpling House:


I'm wondering two things: 1) Has anyone heard anything about what the menu will be like? And 2) can any Chinese-equipped hounds read the words on the awning and tell us what the place's "other" name is? (This might be revealing, since the Chinese names often diverge from the English ones; for all I know, the restaurant's "real" Chinese name could be "This is Not Actually a Dumpling House, Stick to the Seafood")

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  1. the chinese name says "south and north homeland." the menu will most likely be similar to the one at gourmet dumpling house

    1 Reply
    1. re: galangatron

      Thanks! I'm excited for this place to open; I hope it will indeed be another outpost in the GDH/Taiwan Café lineage

    2. "Stick to the Seafood", ha. Made me chuckle. Not as fun but Buk Kyung means Beijing in Korean - it's just the Korean pronunciation of the same two characters - as the focus is on Korean-style Chinese food. Maybe it's common knowledge...

      1. I was peeking in the window today and a very friendly woman invited me in (maybe one of the owners?) she said they might be open in about two weeks and showed me a freshly printed menu. Looks very similar to gourmet dumpling house menu but more options and lunch specials.

        1 Reply
        1. re: AmeliaEats

          Thank you for this update!! I'm really excited for this place to open; I live nearby, and if this restaurant is even half as good as Taiwan Café and GDH I'll be there so often that they might as well keep my coat slung over a chair...

        2. i was excited about this coming to CSq, but then i saw a post from MCSlim, iirc, where he preferred Dumpling Cafe over this place. But then again, there are CHs who really like GDH...

          2 Replies
          1. re: opinionatedchef

            Taiwan Café has been my favorite among the "trinity," though I also like Dumpling Cafe a lot. In general, my luck at DC has been restricted mostly to its "higher-end" offerings; sometime last year I did a post about my disillusionment with the cheaper end of their menu, and to this day I continue to have mostly bad luck with $10-and-below stuff there (noodles, soups, lunch specials, and several of their small plates). But for more ambitious seafood items in the $12-and-above range (like their fine Szechuan fish, seen in MC S's photo) they're pretty great. And of course they blow away all the Chinese food available within walking range of Harvard Sq, though on a good day even Panda House could probably manage this modest triumph...!

            1. re: eatinjeff

              Both mulan and qind dao garden are good and located in Cambridge even if they are quite a hike from Harvard Square.

          2. dumpling house at 950 Mass Ave in Cambridge will be open monday, April 20, according to a sign.

            4 Replies
            1. re: cambridgedoctpr

              This is major news; I'm going to stroll by tomorrow and see how things look. Thanks for the heads up!

              I've also had good luck at Mulan and QG, and also at Zoe's. I've always thought that if any one of those three--or any other solid, authentic Chinese place--was to set up shop within a quarter-mile of H. Sq, it would have grad-students & faculty & tourists lined up around the block like Coloradans when the dispensaries opened. Now we'll see...!

              1. re: eatinjeff

                The new Dumpling House at 950 Mass Ave is 0.6 miles from Harvard Square on foot; it's somewhat closer (0.4 miles) from Central Square. So it's not really within range of Harvard for lunch. (Zoe's in Somerville is 1.0 miles from Harvard Square on foot.) But I'm certainly looking forward to having it in my neighborhood! I agree that the Square doesn't have anything competitive in quality with Zoe's or MuLan.

                1. re: owades

                  I lived closer to central than DH (by about a block) and it was less than a 10 min walk to most points of interest in harvard square (as OC mentions, it's not an exact location).

                  How is that not within range for lunch?

                  1. re: owades

                    Think you're right that it's out of Harvard-lunch range but sure they'll do just fine. Enjoy having Dumpling House in your neighborhood!

              2. I ran into the dumpling house to get a menu and chat for a minute. The host said that the chef is from Shandong province though i did not get the city. That province is in the near north and on the ocean. which might explain the emphasis on seafood. It is open for business but temporarily is cash-only.

                3 Replies
                1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                  I stopped by for dinner today, and I'm glad to say my first impressions are very positive, though they're based on only one dish! More visits and a proper "review" will be coming soon, but I wanted to report back ASAP on this place, knowing that I'm probably not the only one who's been clawing at their door in anticipation.

                  As soon as I got inside, the hostess--in a charmingly overwhelming accent--told me, "Try our dumplings and spicy food, you will love it!" Somehow, I was inclined to believe her.

                  The restaurant is spacious and pleasant, with the same black tables that they have at Taiwan Café (post-remodeling). There's no threat of being stuffed in elbow-to-elbow with our countrymen here, as at GDH.

                  In light of its "family relation" to GDH and Taiwan Café, I went with the "Sliced Fish Szechuan Style," which was prominently featured on their menu. My verdict:

                  Simply marvelous. Maybe the novelty of the setting added to my enjoyment, but it was as fine a rendition of this dish as any I've ever had. I would have lapped up the broth like a schnauzer if I'd had a moment of privacy.

                  My waitress said that DH not only has the same owners as GDH, but also the same chef-- I don't know how many chefs GDH had, but they obviously exported one of the good ones!

                  1. re: eatinjeff

                    Correction: red tables! Nicer than the ones at TC, actually. Somehow they were conflated with the TC tables in my memory until I looked closer at my own photo...

                    1. re: eatinjeff

                      I was also there last night to pick up dumplings and the long horn peppers with dofu to go. I got the mini soup dumplings, some with and some without crab; i thought that the ones without crab were better. The peppers were great.

                      There were lobsters sitting in tanks, and the hostess promised live fish in the near future.

                      They were already 80% full, and i suggested that they consider renting the additional space. The space was nicely done, simple and not fancy.

                      A great addition to the hood; my first impression is that it favorably compares to Sichuan Gourmet and makes up for the loss of Thailand Cafe.

                  2. 8 pm last night, there was a line out into the street at Dumpling House;they need to rent more space.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                      Tonight at around 7:30 there was a long line inside, but it moved quickly. They had a couple 2 person parties willing to share tables. When we left at 8:40 ish there were plenty of tables and no line.

                      I think I'm going to wait to return until some more Chowhounds try it. Our meal wasn't that great, but we might have just ordered wrong. The pork soup dumplings were good, maybe the skin was a little too thick? The braised eggplant with pork was gloppy and sweet. However the eggplant was silky smooth. Probably would have been better if it came with rice (I guess we were suppose to order it separately?). And the sautéed noodles with beef and watercress wasn't spicy at all and contained minimal beef. But like I said we probably ordered wrong.

                      Interesting to see how this place and Hmart affect the Dumpling Room.

                      1. re: viperlush

                        Patty Chen's Dumpling Room? From early CH reports that place sounded like such a mess that i didn't think i'd hear anything on CH about it again.

                        And i would def be bummed if i had your experience w/ those 2 dishes. (So many Boston CHs have great expressions for a first experience like that,but i'm at a loss.....)

                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                          Yes, Patty Chen's dumpling Room. I've had some pretty good dumplings from there and some pretty horrible, but it worked to satisfy the dumpling cravings. Especially since they deliver. So between Hmart's frozen dumplings and Dumpling House's fresh I don't really see a place for the Dumpling Room. Especially if Dumpling House starts delivery.

                        2. re: viperlush

                          i had very good twin lobsters and like the szechuan fish.

                          try anything with long horn peppers; really declicious

                          and OP; i think that he wa talking about dumpling house at 950 Mass Ave.

                          1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                            I wish that I had read this before going. The Szechuan fish was the dish that I was trying to convince the BF to get instead of the noodles.

                      2. My first post on the Boston boards. We just moved from Baltimore, and are looking forward to exploring the Boston culinary scene!

                        I went to Dumpling House today on my own and tried their potstickers and stinky tofu. The potstickers were good, particularly the skin, which had a nice chew to contrast with the crispy pan fried side. The filling could have been a little more generous/flavorful but was tasty. The stinky tofu was probably the best that I've had in the United States (I've spent years in Taiwan and appreciate stinky tofu) :). Well fried tofu, picked cabbage that was pretty good, and what I appreciated the most was the sauce with plenty of minced garlic (not the dish you want on a first date).

                        Will be back to investigate their other dishes. :) The waiter said that the chef is from Northern China; I wonder if they'll ever do fried cruellers and soy bean milk for breakfast?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: daveinmd

                          i will have to try their stinky tofu; dumpling house currently does not serve breakfast. thanks for the tip.

                          1. re: daveinmd

                            welcome balimerdave! we just had a thread recommending things for a Balt. visitor up here; this may be of interest to you re our local seafood scene as different from your home:


                            the crullers and soy milk you will find at many boston chinese spots.

                          2. I went to the dumpling house this weekend with a couple of friends after have read about it on this fine disussion. We ordered, Sliced Fish Szechuan Style, Spicy frog leg in wok, soup dumpling with crab and baby bok choi with garlic and a large rice to share. Everything was delicious. I really can't say more than that other than i already want to go back for the szechuan fish and bok choi. I dont' think that I would order the frog legs or the soup dumplings again. There is a place in Manhatten, Joe's Shanghai on Pell street to which there is no equal, and the frog was very good but it's not something that i crave and want to pay $20 for. But the fish, oh yes please, anytime I will be back for that dish!

                            1. Dumpling House, Cambridge

                              I went to Dumpling House last night. They only take reservations for parties of 5 or more, so I was worried about the wait for 6:30pm on a warm Saturday night. But, fear not, the dining room was only half full and we were seated immediately. By 7pm, the restaurant was packed, mostly with Asians, and there was a line out the door.

                              My DC and I had:

                              Scallion pancakes ($5.25) – These were crispy and flaky, but I thought they lacked in scallion flavor and were a tad greasy.

                              Flat noodles with beef ($8) – These are more commonly known as beef chow foon. These were excellent. The noodles and beef were tender, flavorful and not too greasy. DC loved the noodles and proclaimed it his favorite dish of the night.

                              Sautéed peapod shoots ($14) – I always order these greens, despite the high price tag and they are always delicious.

                              Mini soup dumplings with pork ($7.25) – These soup dumplings were only ok; I still think dumpling café has the best. The skin was slightly too thick and the filling too dense.

                              Lastly, we had the steamed bacon with garlic ($7), and it was awesome. I loved it. I was surprised that it was a cold appetizer, but it added to the dish. In fact, this is the first time I ever thought that bacon was refreshing. The meat is slicked with a red chili oil, but it only has a hint of heat from the fresh garlic. It’s not for everyone; DC had one piece and declared he did not like it, which meant more for me. I ate the whole thing; the only one of the five dishes we ordered to be finished. Just writing this makes me want to return for more.

                              Some of the reviews have complained about the service, but ours was quick and efficient. Water was refilled without asking and the food came quickly. Our table for two was a little small for all the food. DC commented that we had ordered a lot and I just shrugged and smiled, knowing I would be enjoying the leftovers the next day. Parking is only metered street parking for those not blessed with a Cambridge permit, but I found a space right in front.


                              1. Finally made it here two nights ago, and am so happy to have this in the area. It was packed to the rafters, but we were seated quickly, and service was friendly.

                                We had:
                                - A13: spicy salt & pepper tofu
                                - A30: mini soup dumplings with pork
                                - H6: spicy fried lamb in wok
                                - E19: braised eggplant with spicy fish sauce

                                The tofu was just about perfect. Inch-square pieces of firm tofu in a crisp light dry fried shell, done in the classic salt & pepper style. Lots of good sliced spicy peppers and over the top. I could eat this all day.

                                The dumplings were good. While the wrapper was a little thicker than I prefer, the pork inside was generously flavored with ginger, which I like, and the soup itself was tasty and unguent.

                                The eggplant had a lovely flavor, though it was a bit sweet for my personal taste, and was a bit oilier than I prefer. Still good though.

                                The lamb was unlike any dish I'd had before. The meat was nicely wok fried and caramelized, and it was accompanied by thin planks of carrot, big chunks of spicy green peppers, and large thin wheels of lotus root. The lotus added a great textural and flavor balance to the lamb. Will definitely order again.

                                Great joint, can't wait to make my way through more of the menu.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: litchick

                                  It has been even busier? since students returned. The hostess let me know that they do take reservations for parties of 5+. I wish they could get at least a limited liquor license to serve beer.

                                2. Wanted Chinese in Cambridge yesterday so we gave Dumpling House a try. Finding parking was annoying but there was no problem getting seated around 7P.

                                  We really liked the "Lamb with House Special Cumin Sauce," a spicy and dry stir fry with sesame seeds as well as the expected cumin, leek/scallion/garlic bits, and cilantro. It was plenty spicy for us even without eating any of the dried chilis and I did catch at least a hint of Sichuan peppercorn. The "Sauteed Rice Cake w. Mustard Green & Pork" was quite tasty too and made a great foil, especially since we forgot to get rice. I'd order either of those again.

                                  Regarding "This is Not Actually a Dumpling House, Stick to the Seafood", I think you were on to something. With mostly-meh reviews of the soup dumplings we tried the "Shandong Style Pan Fried Dumplings," which were okay enough as pot-stickers go but not worth a repeat. Any dumplings/buns actually worth getting here?

                                  I'm happy to find a decent Chinese resto in the area that's open on Tuesdays, so will likely visit again. What else does DH do well other than the much-hyped "Sliced Fish Szechuan Style" (aka water-cooked fish)? Should we explore the Taiwanese or the "northern" options? Has anyone tried the "Northern Style Cold Noodles" or the shredded potato dishes?

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: T.B.

                                    While I occasionally nibble on a dried chili anyway, I don't believe they are meant to be eaten.


                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                      I didn't think so either but I know some folks who do when the dish isn't hot enough for them; I'd read reports elsewhere about DH's cumin lamb not being spicy enough. My sinuses were clear after two bites and that was plenty for me.

                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                        That's what I've been told as well. I don't try to avoid them, if they end up in my bite they end up in my bite. But I also don't go hunting them down either.

                                      2. re: T.B.

                                        Mulan has decent Taiwanese food in Cambridge. While I haven't tried Dumpling House so I can't compare, Mulan has often filled my cravings for Chinese/Taiwanese when I used to work in that 'hood.

                                        1. re: kobuta

                                          Right, I forgot about Mulan, which is telling in a way. We've liked some of their dishes but my partner-in-chow is not generally enthusiastic about the place. I should try them again next time I'm craving eggplant, given the lackluster DH reports re same.

                                          Checking their website, Mulan looks like yet another example of a Taiwanese resto which talks up their dumplings but doesn't really follow through (to my taste). I assume that's about their presumed target market.

                                          1. re: T.B.

                                            I like their rendition of eggplant with basil. Maybe not the best against the Taiwanese restaurants, but still good. I also like their fish with doubanjiang (or chili sauce - can't remember the English name it's given).

                                            Funny - I've never had their dumplings, and when I've dined there, didn't see dumplings at a lot of tables either.