Rhode Island’s Best Dumplings

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Ah the humble dumpling. Whether steamed, fried or set afloat in a delicious broth, these beauties span Asian cuisine around the world. The Japanese call them Gyoza. The Chinese make almost endless versions including including Shanghai Steamed Buns. And the Thai people use a word that translates to "pleated snack." That is about the perfect description for these little pillows of happiness. We set out to try many dumplings across many cultures and came back with 5 good options for you to try...

Bejing Dumpling, Westerly

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You know you are in good dumpling hands when they appear at the top of the menu in their own section! Located just off Beach Street, in Merchant's Square, Beijing Dumpling has satisfied the diners in the southwest corner of our little state by providing very good Chinese food since they opened. You can get just about all of your favorites here, but once again, this about the dumplings. These are handmade and you can taste the love that goes into them. We tried two different versions: first a fried version of the pork and vegetable. These were near perfect on our visit. Light, crisp and not greasy at all, the flavor of the pork and the vegetables work perfectly together and the dipping sauce added a nice salty kick. Next we tried a steamed version of the chicken dumplings. These were very well done also. The thin wrapper had a nice texture and didn't become too chewy. And can you believe $5.99 for 12 dumplings? We couldn't either! 55 Beach St. 348-8883.

Shogun, Wakefield

There are a lot of times that we are looking for quiet, refined dining experience. There are also times that we've been indulging in the beach all day with a group of friends and we're looking for a little more excitement. On those days we often head to Shogun. This is crazy Teppanyaki cooking at its best. Gather around the flattop grill and watch as the chefs dazzle you with tricks. While they are flipping and tossing shrimp about the grill space, we order up some Japanese Gyoza. These fried pork dumplings are our favorite fried version of fried dumplings. They are filled with pork and vegetables and fried crisp. The thing here is the wrapper. It becomes almost blistered in the pan and creates all kinds of little flavor pockets. The texture alone makes these winners. They also have Shumai, which are shrimp dumplings and Green Gyoza which are all veggie. We're sure they must be good. We have just never tried them! 59 South County Commons Way, 284-1311, www.shogunri.com

Sun and Moon, East Providence

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Our journey continued on to Korea with a quick stop at Sun and Moon. We'll let you in on a closely guarded secret: Sun and Moon is the favorite Asian restaurant, period, among some of the state's best chefs. We are constantly amazed how many folks have been--or claim they have. Located over the Henderson Bridge--but close enough to be annexed by the East Side--this tiny enclave is all about the food. Settle in and let Chef Lee use her magical powers of Korean cooking take you on a flavor vacation. This is Korean from the heart: BiBimBap--try it in the stone pot--BulGoGi and Korean BBQ. The gentleman of our duo always starts with one thing here and it features their incredible dumplings...the Duk-Mandoo guk. It has an tasty broth with beef and fried egg accenting the flavor. The star of the dish is definitely the dumplings floating in it. Just an unreal amount flavor is packed into them. The dough is light and cooked perfectly. Don't forget to try the Kimchi stew or the pork belly and squid. You'll love the authentic flavors. 94 Warren Ave. 435-0214, www.sunandmoonkorean.com

Sawadee, Providence

Off to Thailand next. We count Thai food as some of our favorite ethnic food. The bright and spicy flavors. The varied ingredients. The noodles. It all works to spicy, salty perfection. We go between several favorite Thai restaurants. And we're not telling you all of them. This one, however, we really want you to get out and try--if you haven't already. Located just a bit off Wickenden Street it is a favorite among college students East Siders. We just love the steamed dumplings here. We are carnivores so we generally start with the meat versions and the shrimp and chicken were both tasty and satisfied without weighing us down. We also ventured into the steamed chive dumplings and were similarly impressed. The menu is large and features some Pad Thai that is among our favorite. Don't look down your noses at the curry puffs either--chicken, mashed potato and curry powder in fried dough? Sign us up. 93 Hope St. 831-1122, www.sawaddeerestaurant.com

Enn, Lincoln

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Enn is another of our chef favorites. It's the kind of place where sushi is an art form and the food just rocks. It was a trip north for a relative's birthday that got us into Enn. Yeah, the food was that bad at the party. Thank god it was bad because we found a very good Japanese restaurant in the process. We have lost ourselves in sushi sessions at Enn in the time since. One of those times we decided to try some other stuff off the menu. We started with the Goyza. This was another winner. The outside was nice and crispy and the filling was perfectly cooked. The real star here is the dipping sauce. The use of the light and citrusy ponzu in there with the soy sauce make for a perfect accent to the earthy crispiness of the dumpling. It makes the tummy very happy. And do yourselves a favor and try the sushi. Lincoln may be far from the ocean but the freshness and flavor will have you smelling the salt air. 600 George Washington Highway, 333-0366, www.ennri.com


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