five of us ate at north china dumpling after realizing that yuanbao jiaozi is closed on tuesdays. we were all fairly happy with our meal. we had a beef pancake roll, a pork pancake, pan fried pork bao, fish and chive steamed dumplings, zucchini and lamb pan fried dumpling, “northern style homemade colorful mixed,” spicy cabbage, home style sweet and sour pork, home style meat balls, minced pork noodle with soybean sauce. i think that’s it.
my favorites were the lamb dumplings, which were juicy, although the fish dumplings were good, just a little heavy on the chives. i liked the meatballs, too. one of us asked if they were lion’s head meatballs, and someone said, “maybe more like cub’s heads” due to their diminutive size. the menu showed large red cooked dumplings on a bed of bok choy, but these were small, slightly sweet and sour served with a scattering of chopped green and red bell peppers. i liked the pork pancake as well, a big flaky layered triangle that i’ve mostly had at beijing restaurant. super comfort food. the pan fried bao looked impressive and pillowy, but were largely hollow with a small dense strangely brown pork meatball in the center that i felt i went spelunking to look for. didn’t finish mine. beef pancake was fine. the super soft bean sheets (mung starch?) in the colorful homemade thing tasted good, nice mustardy sesame dressing, but they were really soft and mushy and didn’t mix well with the crunchier wood ears, cucumbers, etc. the noodles were zhajiangmian, and they were just fine, irregular homemade noodles maybe a little too soft. sauce was just salty enough, and there was plenty of it once i mixed it well. the korean in me wanted it to be jjajangmyun instead, and also wanted to like the homestyle sweet and sour more, which reminded me of korean tang soo yook, just without any vegetables aside from a few pieces of bell pepper. i liked the frying on the thin strips, and at first appreciated the natural color free of red dye, but the sauce was too gloopy, too much starch. a little too…biological. but most importantly too subtle in flavor. it needed more acid and a bit more salt. it wasn’t candy sweet, which i appreciated. i poured a bit of black vinegar on top for more tang. but it was well fried and while it stayed hot i did like it well enough to get a small second serving.
forgetting something? oh the spicy stir fried cabbage had a little bit of sichuan peppercorn, and was fine. service was friendly, and i have a big mound of leftovers in the fridge. next time i want to try the fennel pork, beef and radish, and one of the chicken dumplings, as i felt the namesake items were pretty strong. maybe not the thinnest wrappers, so i thought that worked for the pan fried lamb more than the steamed fish. i’m going back to yuanbao jiaozi for lunch this week so i’ll be able to compare, but north china dumpling has a very extensive menu, and the only thing i really didn’t like was the pan fried bao.