Well, hello November 2017. Winter is here too early which is rather unusual. What better way to enjoy is with comfort food. I originally had plans at a different place for food for comfort and it turns out the restaurant was not opened for lunch. Luckily my (food) friend checked the menu before the both of us would be scrambling in the cold during our catch-up. Somehow it works out in the end. Glad someone was paying attention to the business hours!
Dumpling House is located at 3141 Kingsway in the Renfrew-Collingwood area of East Vancouver. It opened sometime this year. This tiny, hidden-gem Northern style Chinese food makes you feel at home. When you open the door, it is definitely a no-frills place. Here’s a photo accompany it. Of course I asked if it was ok to take a photo. I mean, they wouldn’t say no. It’s pretty much free publicity, right?
This restaurant is operated by a very warm and friendly woman with limited English. She really does it all and runs the place. My friend speaks Mandarin so I left all the conversation between her and the woman.
And if you’re wondering, there is a credit/debit machine for this place so yay! I don’t carry cash often, shocking right? They even have an app-based take-out delivery service, which my friend pointed out since I was unable to read it in Chinese. You can order food hot or frozen. So many little details we observed.
The menu comes in English and Chinese on a laminated sturdy sheet. The first thing that I wanted to order is well, the dumplings?
It’s no secret that I love dumplings. It’s even on my About Me page. So I am serious about dumplings and of course, ice cream. The previous ice cream posting was on The Praguery’s ice cream truck. Just saying.
Since we were catching up on our daily life, we didn’t mind the level of service since we were not in a rush. The woman kept on assuring us that food is on the way and we politely told her that we’re good! I mean, we were the only people there and we didn’t mind waiting. If there’s good food on the way and we’re catching up, no big deal.
Sometimes you can tell a lot about a dining customer and how their personality is like. I mean, there’s that douche acquaintance (we-all-know but don’t say anything) that waves their arm like they need service like ASAP as if the world revolves around them. How embarrassing. Seriously.
Sure there could be other factors like the lunch hour rush but you can tell a lot about a person’s character, their level of patience and politeness, and more importantly, how they treat people too. We’ll leave that for another conversation.
For the side dishes. I immediately wanted to try the garlic roasted eggplant. Who doesn’t like garlic and eggplant? We substituted the garlic with raw garlic and they did ask if we would like to include cilantro, which is a YES.
When the eggplant dish arrived, it was super garlicky, which is perfect by me. And the sauce that accompanied that dish was great. They even checked in if there was enough sauce.
My friend selected the bean curd with thousand-year egg (pidan) side dish and we mixed in the items for flavour. It was light and definitely felt like a home cooked meal. Some diners may think it’s weird that the place is quiet and may be awkward but you have to understand the restaurant’s concept.
I mean, we are not dining at, let’s say, Starbucks Evening Menu, Starbucks Coffee Canada on this trip and for the atmosphere, right?
Onto the main event, the dumplings. We ordered the wintermelon, shrimp and pork and oyster mushroom and green pepper. The lady told us they were missing sold out and two pieces so they offered the fennel and pork. Apparently fennel is in the off-season according to my friend and the owner. I am not familiar with Northern Chinese food but glad that someone was representing. You learn something new everyday.
I like how you can choose how you want the dumplings. What kind of dumplings do you like? Steamed, boiled, or pan-fried? What other methods are out there?
I personally like soup dumplings steamed with a piece of lettuce at the bottom to ensure the soup stays. Boiling dumplings seems bland and boring even with the added sauce to accompany. And pan-frying seems to be the most favourable since you get the crispy outside with the moist inside. And you can dip your sauce too. They had soy sauce, vinegar and chilli pepper for your sauce.
The dumplings we ordered were all pan-fried and contains a lot of juice inside. It wasn’t soup dumpling level but it was noticeable and full of flavour. It was definitely made fresh and no MSG. I did not feel sleepy from the food. Unlike Vietnamese food where you go in a deep food coma.
For you (picky) diners out there, there isn’t an option for tea but there’s water and pop as an option. This is strictly a dumpling place so no noodles or dessert.
2017 has been quite the year with many changes. Sometimes change is overwhelming but somehow we all get through and move forward to better things in life. Do you sit there, complain, and/or waste time or you take action with your life? Or do you fear the unknown? And it’s really on how you approach things.
What’s important is to surround yourself with good, positive, honest people and you’ll have it your way. I feel like I only spent three months in 2017, hence why I have been super slow at blogging this year. I tend to take my time in the write-ups. It’s more meaningful that way. I hope to blog more and tell you more about myself. Who is the mystery person behind the content of this blog? What are you trying to achieve? What will happen with this blog in the future?
All I have to say is that blogging has been great and sharing my food rendez-vous trips. It started with the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Nashville last year on my birthday.
I hope to spend more time on blogging in 2018. I have met so many inspiring people, from stay at home moms, Instagram bloggers, restaurant gurus fulfilling their dreams and more! Somehow people think that I should become a vlogger one day as a suggestion. I guess people don’t know my real age based on my appearance sometimes – ha. I am way too shy to start vlogging!
I have been collecting more cookbooks so it comes in handy for hosting gatherings at home. The latest cookbook I received from Penguin Random House of Canada is on simple, everyday cooking. That’s totally up my alley and it’s so generous I received a review copy of The Simple Bites Kitchen. I love simple cooking so I can use ingredients for another kitchen session.
I’m very excited for the holidays and Christmas. Time to whip out the wine and champagne glasses to celebrate 2017! And how about decorative savoury holiday treats, creating a fancy cocktail or tasty family drinks? I literally have no (food) will power. How about that holiday punch bowl at The Mackenzie Room, which is a farm to table concept restaurant.
Can’t wait to enjoy the rest of 2017 with glassware and of course, many homemade treats! Those I will share in real life with the best people. ❤ For the rest of you, you’ll see it digitally on Instagram, @carealot. 🙂