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orion

Dumpling House

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I've just gotten back to Philly after being away for a few months so I don't know how new this place is or if it was covered somewhere on the board already, but I don't see anything and this is a fairly big deal to me.

Philly's Chinatown finally has an answer to all the delicious and dirt-cheap dumpling places that can be found in NYC's. Whenever I take the Chinatown bus to the city I usually can't resist a sesame pancake and an order of fried dumplings from Dumpling House on Eldrige St, where 6 delicious pork and chive dumplings are a buck and a sesame pancake with beef is $1.50.

Now there's a Dumpling House in Philly (I don't think there's any connection to the NYC store though), and though it's a bit more expensive, there is finally a place to get sesame pancakes and cheap dumplings.

Yesterday I tried the pork and chive dumplings, $2.50 an order, and a sesame pancake, which was 75 cents but didn't have any filling. (I figured the basic version would at least include the cilantro and pickled carrots but apparently that's the "vegetable stuffed sesame pancake.") The dumplings were awesome, maybe not quite up to Dumpling House or Dumpling Man in NYC but close enough for me.

The Sesame pancake was a bit different than I'm used to. For one, it was an individual bun instead of a slice of a pie-shaped loaf as in NYC. It seemed fresh-made and was nice and crispy on the outside. It was pretty good all around besides being too thick though, with too much doughy inside. I'll happily take it as a first step though. I'll be definitely making it part of my lunchtime rotation.

It's between 9th and 10th on Race, in one of the storefronts between Xe Lua and Nan Zhou.


Edited by orion (log)

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Excellent! Thanks for the tip, Orion.

I'm not sure how the eG crew missed that, we've been patrolling that stretch of Race lately! Maybe we've been distracted by the sudden arrival of the customize your bowl of noodle places...

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Sesame Pancake with Roast Pork

gallery_23992_3606_25247.jpg

I should have put something in the shot for scale... it's actually bigger than I expected, about the size of a McDonald's hamburger. Nice sesame flavor, good crunch, the pork was tasty, and the veggies gave it a kind-of bahn mi effect. Excellent snack for $2.50.

Chive/Pork Fried Dumplings

gallery_23992_3606_48445.jpg

These were actually much better than they look, well-crisped on one side, still tender on the other, pot-sticker-style. The filling was juicy and flavorful. They didn't serve any dipping sauce with them, but there was soy sauce and sriracha on the table. We didn't ask, maybe they have something else too. Ridiculously good at $2.50 for 8 of them.

The only problem is that this place REALLY ought to be open later, I get totally in the mood for this kind of thing at about 1am. Sadly, they appear to close about 9:00 pm right now. Still, they're available for a great quick lunch, or random snack.


Edited by philadining (log)

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Glad they were open! I stopped by on Tuesday, and found the place empty except for the wowner, who was shaking her head and saying over and over "it's an awful day... an awful day..." Needless to say, they weren't serving food!

The scallion pancake looks terrific; I can't wait to try this place...

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They didn't serve any dipping sauce with them, but there was soy sauce and sriracha on the table.

Actually, that's probably not soy sauce on the table: typically places like this just use the soy sauce bottles for the dumpling sauce, which seems to always be a mix of soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar and a little bit of sesame oil. (Sometimes the contents of the sriracha bottle are different too...the hot sauce is sometimes much thinner than sriracha is.)

And if you think $2.50 is a great deal for the dumplings, you should check out the places in NYC that charge $1!

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I had a similar experience to Andrew's today. Stopped in for a surgical strike late afternoon dumpling snack and found the door open with the "OPEN" sign prominently displayed, but was told they weren't open. Weird.

I ended up having a bowl of beef brisket hand drawn noodle soup instead. Good snack on a chilly afternoon. I still have half left for lunch tomorrow.

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I ended up having a bowl of beef brisket hand drawn noodle soup instead.  Good snack on a chilly afternoon.

ha, that's exactly what I got as a consolation prize! Man, that soup is good...

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So, what? Orion and I are the only ones who know the secret password?

Still, getting a bowl of noodles at Nan Zhou is not a bad fall-back position...

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So, what? Orion and I are the only ones who know the secret password?

They were open and serving the Wednesday before Thanksgiving; I had the pork and scallion (chive?) dumplings on my way over to 30th St. Station.

Very good, nice dipping sauces. The woman charged me $3, even though the menu said $2.50, but they were hot and delicious, definitely worth it.

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they were closed today around noon, or so they said as they waved me out the door when i went in. my wife was there 12-1230 yesterday for lunch and they were open, but she said she only saw one or two other people come in while she was there.

tough business, surviving in chinatown -- there's plenty of other places to eat. i'm no restaurant genius, but i know this: having regular hours helps. also, taking the OPEN sign off the door if you're not open.

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I walked by the place Saturday eventing after Thanksgiving... it looked open, lights on, door open, open sign...

No customers. Unlike every single other place in chinatown. So I didn't even bother going in.

But these stories remind me of a story from someone I knew growing up in Germantown: she went into a fish market she hadn't been in before, and asked what type of fish they had...

And basically got a look back of surprise--like why would anyone actually expect them to carry fish in the market?

She left and didn't come back another day...


Edited by mb7o (log)

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Uh, is this place a front for something entirely different?

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I went on saturday, about 11:15, and as mrbig discovered, the sign said they were open, the lights were on, there were employees there, but they waved me off and told me they were "closed today". I asked when they would open, and they shook their heads, looked kind of frustrated, and said "maybe later today, maybe tomorrow..."

I m assuming a lot, but I'm guessing they're having trouble getting supplies. I only say that because they time I did manage to eat there, they didn't have steamed buns, and they said, "maybe tomorrow" about those too.

Given that they have actually served me, and Orion, and MichaelG, dumplings, and sesame pancakes, I think it is indeed an actual restaurant, not a front. I just think they haven't worked out how to get the raw materials transported consistently from the mothership in NY, or something...

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Stopped by this afternoon. Two tables were eating, including people from the Chinatown bank where I bank.

Had the fried pork dumplings. Pretty darn tasty. I wanted to try 4 boiled and 4 fried, but that was a non-starter. Also, there were no pancakes or buns available -- something involving the wok and the guy who works it not being there -- so I'll try those on a return visit, I guess. They also sell frozen dumplings at amazingly cheap prices: various pork incarnations go for 50 for $10 and 100 for $18. Vegetable, chicken and shrimp sell for 25 for $6-7 and 50 for $11-13.

Menu:

gallery_7898_5492_415122.jpg

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I don't think you missed anything by skipping the boiled dumplings: we had some on sunday and they were pretty blah. The fried ones are pretty good though.

Didn't love the buns, they were a little too dense. And they didn't have (or couldn't make) the sesame pancakes on sunday either, which is a shame because they're the main reason for going to this place. The dumplings are decent, and cheap, but the sesame pancakes were really good, and cheap...

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