While it is true that Dallas doesn't have the bustling Asian cuisine community that exists in cities like New York and San Francisco, too many people are quick to say that Dallas just doesn't have any good Chinese (or Thai, or Japanese) restaurants. You may have to look outside of the traditional "bubbles" that exist in the Dallas restaurant scene, but there are plenty of places to find delicious and authentic Asian favorites, including dumplings.
Dumplings haven't enjoyed the same trendiness that ramen or sushi have, but maybe that's a good thing. These humble little steamed pockets of deliciousness are all over menus in Dallas, even in some pretty unexpected places. At these seven restaurants, you'll find some of Dallas' best dumplings, ranging from the wholly authentic to fresh takes on this classic dish.
Royal China This North Dallas old fave is widely regarded as one of Dallas' best Chinese restaurants, and the dumplings here really stand out. Handmade at a station designed specifically for dumpling making, the "dumpling ladies" at Royal China are immigrants from northeast China and Shanghai, both regions known for their stellar dumplings. The dumplings served up at Royal China with pork, shrimp, veggie, and chicken filling are as close to authentic as you can get in Texas. If you're really a dumplings enthusiast, try the xiao long bao, or soup dumplings, which are filled with a hearty dose of steaming pork stock. Sounds weird, is delicious.
Monkey King Noodle Co. Sure, "Noodle" is in the name, but the dumplings at Monkey King are equally good. Dallas vegans rave about the veggie dumplings here, and for good reason -- they're stuffed with an entirely addictive mixture of edamame and fluffy, fried tofu. Omnivores will be equally impressed with the pork dumplings or spicy wontons in chili sauce, and the 10-count serving is perfect for a light lunch or sharing with friends. You'll also find xiao long bao here, and it's just as good as the non-soupy dumplings on the menu.
Jeng Chi If you ask just about any fine dining chef in town where their favorite Chinese restaurant is, they're going to tell you Jeng Chi. What this strip mall Chinese joint lacks in fancy touches, it more than makes up for in authentic flavors. Dumplings are the main reason that discerning diners flock to this Richardson restaurant, and they're offered in three varieties -- steamed, boiled, or "juicy." Of course, juicy just means the dumplings include a little bit of soup broth, similar to xiao long bao. Try the pork, shrimp, and leek boiled dumplings for a ridiculously good dinner, or go more adventurous with the boiled fish dumpling.
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Stock & Barrel Chef Jon Stevens' "Kitchen Americana" in Bishop Arts doesn't seem like a place to find traditional Chinese dumplings, and you won't. But what you will find is equally delicious, and more than craveable. The menu here is constantly changing, but a current offering of goat cheese dumplings with shaved black truffle, braised short ribs, and maitake mushroom is a contender for a house favorite.
Tanoshii Dumplings make several appearances on the menu of Tanoshii Ramen in Deep Ellum. A lemongrass chicken soup with pork wontons floating on top is a delicious alternative to noodles, or you could choose a plate of traditionally prepared pork and shrimp or vegetable dumplings. At $7, an order is a full lunch at a bargain, or a reasonably-priced appetizer before that big bowl of ramen you're going to slurp down.
Tei An Tei-An is an obvious inclusion on most lists of Asian cuisine in Dallas. Few chefs here are able to create the same magic that Chef Teiichi Sakurai conjures up in that tiny One Arts Plaza kitchen, and the same could be said for the impossibly pillowy dumplings that are served up at Tei-An every day. You should really spend your money on top-quality sushi here, but if you're less-than-flush, an order of pork dumplings will make you feel like a prince on the pauper's budget.
Yutaka This swanky uptown bistro is known for its sushi, but the dumplings at Yutaka really shouldn't be playing second fiddle. The spicy tuna gyoza aren't necessarily traditional dumplings, but they are really delicious. This maybe isn't the place to take your Chinese grandmother, but everyone else who isn't totally into authenticity can appreciate the upscale twists on traditional dumplings (and just about everything else) at Yutaka.