When I arrived there, I loved how the place was decorated. It's casual, bright, has a contemporary feel, and was crowded at my time of visit and I was expecting GOOD dumplings because of their name plus the fact that the owner's Asian so I assumed that she should know awesome Asian cooking!
But then, my expectations were ruined. Having said, growing up in an Asian country and the fact that I have traveled to a number of Southeast Asian country and a number of the Northern Asian countries.. I have my references and their food did not resemble any of the qualities, nor taste of those served in China, Hong Kong, and even Singapore and Indonesia! But, I would say that some of their foods do look great sight-wise and in picture.
Pan Seared Pork Dumpling
The first dumpling that came to our table was their pan seared pork dumpling with napa cabbage and it was bland taste-wise. I did not taste any crunchiness at all with regards to the cabbage, nor any texture that would represent that the fact that there were cabbages in it. The filling was too little, yet the thick skin was WAY to thick for the gang nor I have never eaten a guo tie (Guo tie is the chinese word for pan fried chinese dumplings) with a skin that is so thick as the one they served in my life. The skin was so thick that I have to use a table knife to cut neatly and I can't simply use my chopsticks to pierce through. Plus, the dumplings arrived warm and not piping hot.
However, the dish was rescued by their sweet and slightly tangy dipping sauce in which I think was good. It just need slightly more salt.
Petit Chicken Dumplings with Szechuan Sauce
Next on arrival was the Petit Chicken Dumplings with Szechuan Sauce (they spell them Sichuan, but I always spell Szechuan using the latter) and boy, this was horrible. Despite looking very appetizing with those garlic-looking stuffs, these dumplings suffer from the same issues as mentioned above: the skin was too thick, and it was bland (It should be noted that these dumplings are normally not served hot, so it's normal) . Frankly, I find their warnings very misleading because these babies did not taste very Szechuan at all - it was marked spicy on the menu, but it was not spicy at all! Perhaps they should not name these babies bearing the Szechuan name coz it ain't szechuan without the heat.
Steamed Organic Chicken and Napa Cabbage Dumpling
The THICK SKIN.
The same disease was also suffered by the steamed chicken and napa dumpling: It's bland, and I did not taste the traces of any napas, the skin's too thick plus the filling was way too little. The only remedy was the dipping sauce. R also ordered the Pork and Chive dumpling and for me, this was the best tasting out of all three as the richness of the pork saved it and made it rich in taste. But then again, the same disease were present and I also could not taste the chives. Both dishes arrived very dry and closer to cold rather than being piping hot whereas the Jiaozi (the chinese word for steamed chinese dumplings, not the same as Wonton!) I used to eat arrived always slightly moist, steamy and piping hot!
Braised Pork Belly Buns
Unlike any other braised pork belly buns I have ever tasted in my life, this one does not have the overpowering sweetness and saltiness unlike the buns I have ever eaten in Asia. I would not mind more seasonings, though. The buns came out cold in which I do not really adore as I always got them heated, but the mantou (the buns!) they used was perfect for my liking, nonetheless.
Three-day Pork Ramen
Where I should I start? Ramen. Since the establishment decided to title this dish with the title Ramen, it does not mean that it should have bamboo shoots in it in which I and Chris think that the bamboo shoot is way out of place for this dish as it does not complement the Giu Nyuk a.k.a Babi Hong. Despite the Giu Nyuk (the pork) smelled like a typical giu nyuk, it is bland and needs to be sweetened more. Then comes the broth which was tasteless and didn't taste rich at all. Are they sure that they took three days to make this? I don't believe so because ramen joints that boasts that they took 24 hours to cook their broth was able to create something that is richer without MSG of course! (Missing you, Marutama Ramen...)
Golden Fried Buns with Condensed Milk
Last but not least, I have been avoiding desserts for the sake of the success of my diet and I could not resist trying these good looking buns. I cut a small bite and I was immediately saddened as I have to cheat, even for a small piece of buns that tasted horrible. Despite being crispy and having a great texture, the buns carries over the fragrant from frying using a used cooking oil. I did not finish my bun due to this unpleasant smell as I find it disturbing to my palate.
Hence, I had a not-so-good experience dining here in this establishment despite the fact that I enjoyed taking pictures of these good looking foods. Reminiscing the fact that I have to take a cheat meal resulted me in enduring more guilt because I spent my cheat meal eating the foods I did not enjoy eating. Despite the fact that the dishes we ordered looked very appetizing and great presentation-wise, taste highly needs to be improved and they should serve their dishes at the right temperature. Plus, they shall re-title their Szechuan dumplings into something else.
I realized that my expectations might be slightly too high on this one, but well.. Guo tie-s are Guo tie-s, and Jiaozi-s are Jiaozi-s. and it is relatively easy to find alternatives that served better guo ties and jiaozis around Boston with a lower price tag and a bigger portion, and even ones that were HEAVENLY in Asia and in my hometown, Jakarta.
37 Center St