Dumpling Specialist SF

I’ve been to dumpling specialist twice now, the tiny new restaurant that i guess was opened by the former dumpling kitchen chef/owner after retirement didn’t take. Dumpling specialist is tiny, just four small tables. The first time i was there about a month ago with four other people and we sample a good amount of the very small menu. I liked their xiao long bao which come 5 to a basket. They have fairly thin skins and mine held their shape, although not everyone was so lucky. That may have been more to do with them being mishandled by my fellow diners than the kitchen. There is soy, black vinegar, and chili oil available at the table. The xlb had a good amount of tasty broth. I also liked their pork potstickers, which had pretty thin well made wrappers and a flavorful pork filling. These are quite juicy as well. I was not so impressed with the pan fried pork buns. Small, fluffy, lightly browned bottoms, lackluster pork filling, not very juicy. That first visit we also had a sticky rice roll stuffed with a fried dough stick, a you tiao? It was good. Also a not very memorable but satisfying enough bowl of noodles in a peanut sauce. Oh and bright, fresh garlicky cucumbers and thin pressed tofu “noodle” salad.

Second visit was last just the other day. I had the same feelings about the xlb, the potstickers, and the buns as before. I personally really like both the potstickers and the xlb. But what stood out for me was the savory soy milk. The day before i had ordered this for lunch at bund shanghai in SF Chinatown. It’s the sort of dish i’m not very familiar with but find very comforting and i can see why its enjoyed for breakfast by so many people. The bund shanghai version was easy enough to like but pretty basic, with just a little chili oil, i think some pickled mustard green and what seemed like the same type of algae that is used to press nori sheets, same flavor. But the one at dumpling specialist was sort of the surprise hit. It had more chili oil, which was more pungent, as well as chopped green onions and some sort of pickled or fermented green. There was also in the bottom of the bowl a bit of a minced pork gravy-like thing that reminded me in flavor somewhat of southern pulled pork. There were freshly fried garnishes of you tiao floating in the bowl. As i stirred and ate it with a spoon, the soy milk curdled, and i’m not sure what exactly made it do that. The mystery (to me) pickled veggies? I liked how the dish transformed texturally as i ate it and the flavors mixed together. Another example of breakfast foods the world over that i would gladly eat at any time of the day or night. So if anyone has any recs on where to get good soy milk dishes, please feel free to suggest away.

Both times i’ve been on the early side of dinner. Their hours are 5-8 for dinner, though they are open for lunch as well. The place is very small, let me stress that.

1123 Taraval St.


Great report. Do they do the savory soy milk every day or just weekends?

The pan fried pork buns sound the same as they were at Dumpling Kitchen. Years ago Dumpling Kitchen was rumored to be getting equipment to make the soup-filled type, but that never transpired to my knowledge.

Every day

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