Find Under $5: There's More Than Meets the Name at Dumpling Kitchen
As the name not-so-subtly suggests, Dumpling Kitchen specializes in just that. The Taraval Street restaurant offers very good versions of varities such as Shanghai-style crab and pork, Beijing-style pork and chive, steamed vegetable, and pork in chili oil: a selection so plentiful that choosing among them presents a very real, albeit welcome, challenge.
Green Onion Pancake
While it is easy to become overwhelmed by the plethora of enticing dumpling options, two other dishes should not be overlooked. The green onion pancakes ($4.25 for an incredibly generous serving) are the Chinese equivalent of the bread basket. Savory and rich with a subtle hint of sesame oil, the pancakes have a crisp exterior perfectly contrasted by a chewy center. Dip it in the complimentary chili sauce, or better yet, use it as a vehicle for soaking up any of the stray liquid from the soup dumplings.
If you too believe there is little better than ending your meal with yet even more bread products, the Beijing-style sweet buns ($2.50 for 4 balls of leavened heaven) will leave you damn near euphoric. You can order them steamed or fried, but as we all know, the latter is (almost) always better. The buns are yeasted and airy, mildly-sweet versions of traditional doughnuts (but sugar seekers can rest easy; a dipping sauce of sweetened condensed milk accompanies them).
Deep-Fried Sweet Buns
Now that's our version of a sweet ending.