Allston’s own Dumpling Kingdom is the third location to join Dumpling Cafe in Chinatown and Dumpling Palace in Cambridge, serving Chinese and Taiwanese specialties. Found in the main drag of Harvard Avenue in Allston near Boston University and Boston College, this restaurant is a welcome addition.
We came on a rainy night to check out this location. The dining room is clean and bright. We sat down for attentive service from the wait staff. The menu is extensive, giving us a wide variety of dishes.
First out was Taiwan’s famous night market treat oyster pancake ($7.95). This rendition has the mandatory “QQ,” the Taiwanese expression for chewy and gooey texture of the pancake, studded with a generous amount of oysters. The eggy batter complemented the fresh ocean taste from the oysters, set off by the savory but not overly sweet red sauce.
Next came the spicy Taiwanese style eggplant ($11.95), purple eggplant served with the skin on. It was billed as spicy, but was more sweet than hot. We could have used more of a spicy kick. It went well with white rice though, and the Thai basil gave a pungent contrast to the sweetness of the sauce.
The xiao lung bao, aka mini juicy buns, with pork and crabmeat arrived in the requisite steamer ($8.95). These dumplings were topped with crab roe and filled with pork and crabmeat, served with a tangy rice vinegar dipping sauce and delicate ginger slivers. The pork flavored broth was rich and juicy, enveloped by the thin dumpling wrapper, for one of the better versions in the area.
A favorite was the big plate of Taiwanese pork chop rice ($7.95), which a college friend introduced me to. This rendition did not disappoint. From the first bite, the pork chop (bone in) was not greasy, with a crispy crust on the juicy pork and hints of Chinese five spice. This traditional Taiwanese lunch box favorite came with a well-executed tea egg, made atop stewed minced pork and pickled vegetables. The mixture of rice, vegetables, meat and egg in this dish satisfies.
Finally, we sampled the braised spicy beef noodle soup ($7.95), hailed as a Taiwanese dish with roots from Sichuan. The Chinese noodles were the perfect texture: not mushy with a slightly chewy texture. The “hong shao” red braised beef was more a deep soy color but went well with the excellent broth, flavored with hints of Chinese five spice powder, star anise and Sichuan peppercorns, adding a pleasant heat to the soup.
Dumpling Kingdom is worth checking out for authentic Chinese food outside of Chinatown. The location has good steady service, tasty food with generous portions and reasonable prices that don’t break the bank.
Dumpling Kingdom III
This post is also available in: Chinese