It was the day after the clocks went back, and although it’s supposed to be the warmest October in years, the one hour change somehow made it feel that winter had descended upon us. On such a day, one must listen to the heart. And the heart pointed towards some good old steamed dumplings.
So I wandered into Chinatown and followed this dumpling compass to Beijing Dumpling, a fairly typical looking Chinatown eatery with the chefs situated near the entrance so curious travellers treading upon the West End’s Silk Road (otherwise known as Lisle St) can marvel as long threads of dough are flipped and kneaded into all sorts of dumplings, wontons, and buns. The restaurant was near empty, but for the smell of soy sauce and steamed pork balls, which made it as full as I need it to be. I went with the plate of Siu Long Bao. I also ordered their “Special fried rice.” Although I wasn’t expecting much, the service at this place wasn’t the greatest. The main waiter seemed to take great offence every time he was called, and hence he wasn’t exactly a pocket full of sunshine while interacting with me.
The Siu Long Bao dumplings were decently tasty, however the outer layer was a bit too thick, so there was a bit too much of a wheat taste instead of that of the pork ball in the soup. Also, I felt there wasn’t enough soup in the dumpling, making it a bit dry. The fried rice on the other hand, was extremely well made. The “Special” turned out to be a Yang Zhou Fried Rice, which is in my opinion the best kind of fried rice anyway. With minced barbecued pork, prawn, egg, and vegetables, it offers a mix of flavours like no other fried rice dish across any cuisine I’ve had. These guys got the texture and flavours all right, including the amount of soy and MSG to add which can be tricky, so props to them.
Charging £5 for 8 pieces of dumpling, and £4.5 for a very authentically and deliciously prepared fried rice, Beijing Dumpling definitely gives a good bang for your buck. Worth a visit if you are in the mood for a decent Chinese meal under £10!
£20 (2 people)
23 Lisle St, Chinatown, London WC2H 7BA