Dumpling Fest Review
10,000 dumplings and still counting
Being Asian means never having to say I’m sorry but did you want that last shrimp dumpling? Too bad so sad. That’s why I have long arms so that I can reach across your face and grab that last succulent plump little piece of goodness. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say I’ve eaten 10,000 dumplings and still counting. So, sit up, grab a dumpling or two and read my Dumpling Fest Review of where to get some of the best dumplings in Vancouver.
Bombay Indian Kitchen and Bar
1018 Commercial Dr, Vancouver
After registration at Prado Cafe (there was no Tasting Plates here), we were assigned to go to Bombay Indian Kitchen and Bar. At all other events guests are usually free to plan their own route from start to finish which has sometimes resulted in congestion at some establishments, so this was a new tactic by Vancouver Foodster to alleviate the frustration of hangry people.
Because the Tasting Plate her contained dairy, as paneer is cheese, the only thing I could do was eat the Naan which was light and airy. No complaints. My friend Fay aka Armadillo Boutique told me the Malai Kofta was everything she would hope for in an Indian dish, – fragrant and flavourful and not a burn a hole in my mouth why don’t ya, spicy. To me, the Malai Kofta wasn’t quite a dumpling as it had no “skin”, but looked more like a meatball. I’m thinking that samosas or pakoras should be the the Indian versions of dumplings. Because Fay is a person who has high standards when it comes to restaurants and loved this place, I’d like to come back to have a non-dairy entree as the menu actually lets you design your own entree by allowing you choose your curry with your choice of meat and sauces such as vindaloo, Rogan Josh and Masala, all of which no cream or cheese which I can have with my non-dairy restrictions. And there’s also a non-dairy Mango Sorbet with Coconut Flakes which would definitely end the meal off a coo and hopefully delicious note.
208 Keefer Street, Vancouver
Because there was a slight seating fiasco at Rhinofish Noodle Bar where people behind us were served first, I decided to hobble across the street to get our Tasting Plates at Hey Dumpling! while Fay remained seated and tried to get our server’s attention. I find flashing my boobs work – what – I didn’t know that only works at the Marci Gras in New Orleans!! Hey Dumplings! is a small place in which I spied three crock pots of which I presume one had meat, potato and the other gluten free selection of pelmeni.
So what are pelmeni? It’s a Russian dumpling which means “ear bread”. Does that mean I’ll hear better after eating some? Our Tasting Plate was a choice of 5 meat or 5 potato with a choice of Poutine or Spicy Scallion Sauce. Other available choices for sauce are Buffalo, Butter Chicken, Creamy Dill, Spicy Ginger Scallion, Vegan Beet Pesto, Pesto, Vegan Poutine and Poutine (dumplings are $5 for a snack pak for $10 for a meal). You can definitely taste the difference between this and store bought tortellini which the pelmeni reminds me of. I had the Meat Vegan Poutine with Mykonos vegan cheese which is made from coconut oil and it was delicious. There’s also a dessert which is made 12 berries and ice cream (Berry Pelmeni) and and can apparently be made vegan. I’m happy to see more and more establishments recognizing that’s there’s a market in catering to dairy sensitive consumers. In the words of Arnold – “I’ll be back.”
Rhinofish Noodle Bar
550 Main Street, Vancouver
Chao Shou – chilli vinaigrette Wonton with pork, buk choy and house made chili oil
Zheng Jiao Steamed Dumpling with shiitake, bok choy, bamboo, sesame & bean curd
When I hobbled back from Hey Dumplings! back to Rhinofish where my friend sat waiting, waiting, waiting…. I was elated to see that finally, there was food on our table at Rhinofish. One of the waitresses probably wanted my friend to stop drooling incessantly at everyone’s plates. All was forgiven as their dumplings were simply delicious. The Su Zheng Jiao Dumpling had subtle spices which didn’t take over the finely minced bok choy and shiitake mushrooms. The Cao Shou Wonton was delightfully crispy while the chili vinaigrette on it tastes nothing like the bottled kind you find at Asian restaurants, as the spices in it just seem to have a more definitive taste. Rhinofish will definitely be on my list of restaurants to visit.
Mangia Cucina & Bar
2211 Manitoba Street, Vancouver
Lobster Ravioli with garlic, chili, white wine and fresh tomato sauce
Fried gnocchi with ricotta mousse and pistachio pesto
If food is the language of love then the food at Mangia Cucina & Bar screams out loud enough to wake the neighbours (this time it ain’t me). Mangia definitely did not skimp on the quantity of their Tasting Plate as we got Lobster Ravioli – yes read it and shout OMG – which was incredible with delicate shredded lobster flesh infused with white wine and a subtle tomato sauce which did not overtake the luxurious taste of the lobster. The Fried Gnocchi with Ricotta Cream was apparently made just for this event and these deep dark brown pleasant nuggets of joy were fried until they were extricating crispy. Sigh – where can I sign the petition to put this on the menu?
Managua isn’t a large place but is very cozy (wink wink) as it’s situate in a small heritage house so it would be perfect for a romantic evening with your plus one or minus twos (girlfriends). There’s also happy hour speials Monday to Saturday 2:30 – 5:30pm with $7 wine and $3 to $8 snacks.
Hon’s Wonton House
25 E 2nd Ave, Vancouver
Spicy Prawn Wonton with chili garlic sauce
When I was a child back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, my parents used to take my siblings and I to Hon’s Wonton House in Chinatown every time we visited Vancouver from my hometown Calgary. Back then there was just one location in Chinatown and now it seems that the only one is located in Olympic Village as the Richmond and Robson Street locations have bit the dust.
Pork Potstickers with citrus ginger dipping sauce
Dumplings are an Asian’s comfort food and it was comforting to know that Hon’s food was the same as I remembered it from my childhood. The Potstickers were moist on the inside while being crisp on the outside while the wonton had a bit of bite to it with its “I’m going to make you cry” chilli sauce. And cry I did the next day as I gleefully poured all of the chilli sauce on my wonton to take home to have for lunch the next day. Hon’s Wonton House is in the space that used to Bibo Pizza al Taglio so it has limited seating, so it’s best to take out these Chinese treasures to go. The menu isn’t large as it has dumplings, noodles, wonton, soups, one seasonal vegetable dish and a few meat and rice combos, but you can order it to go by going to their website. Hopefully, Hon’s will open more locations soon,
This Dumpling Fest Review is by no means an extensive list of where to eat dumplings, but it’s a good starting point as I found this event featured dumplings from different cultures. 10,000 dumplings and counting? Let’s try to make it to 100,000!
About Tasting Plates
Each month Richard Wolak organizes one or two different Tasting Plates event focused on a specific neighbourhood or food theme. There are usually four or fives restaurants on the tour. This is a self-guided tour which you are given about four hours to visit each location. You begin at a common registration point where you receive your Tasting Plates ticket which will list the tasting plates at each establishment. The price of this ticket varies as the earlier you buy your ticket, the lower the price will be. You should subscribe to the Tasting Plates newsletter to learn about new Tasting Plates events. My ticket is complimentary as I promote this event and write reviews and I tweet and instagram photos.