Not sure what the heck is going on? Head over here for part 1!
Despite the plethora of appetizers we’d ordered, we still had plenty of room for entrees. I think is one of the most magical things about these adventures – so many people are eating that you can really go to town on the ordering and neither be too full nor overladen with leftovers.
Our entrees were actually a bit less exciting than the appetizers, although a few daring choices were made.
This was not one of them, though it was delicious. The menu called it Diced Chicken w. Peking Sauce. Peking sauce is often an alternate name for hoisin, although confusingly it can also refer to a similar sauce called tian mian jiang, which is an amazing name for just about anything. Either way the chicken fit the profile – somewhat sweet, somewhat salty, the tiniest bit of chili. Very enjoyable and way less gloppy-sweet than your typical suburban “General Gau’s” chicken. It was good, just not terribly adventurous. I suspect we were all recovering from duck tongues and Weird Uncle Meatball.
More intriguing was the “House Special Razor Clam Meet (sic) & Pork w/Chives in Hot Sauce.” Razor clams are not commercially fished, so someone is digging those suckers right out of the beach! The little bits of pork held most of the spicy flavor (unless you ate those little atomic death chilis they put into these dishes, which I did not), and the chives were abundant in a way you don’t normally see herbs used – tasty and interesting. I might have to try it at home! There were also pieces of secret squid tucked away in the mix – they were perfectly cooked, not at all rubbery and a nice addition to the dish.
This was the Sauteed Blood with Leeks. It was my choice, mostly because I am less excited about Intestine and Pork Blood Hot Pot, which was the other option up for discussion, and I am sad to say that I made the wrong choice. The dish wasn’t bad, it was just surprisingly boring for sauteed pork blood. We were able to easily remedy it with sauces from other dishes, but perhaps I judged the intestines too harshly – no one has ever accused a mustard hot pot of being dull. I guess I will just need to go back!
This little beauty, on the hand, was not boring. In fact, it had the best sauce for doctoring the blood, along with anything else one saw fit to put it on. It’s Twice Cooked Pork, a name that doesn’t really reveal too much about how awesome this dish is. Luckily Jake pulled out his fancy-phone, did some research, and wisely recommended that we give this dish a whirl.
Holy cow. If you’re too lazy to click the link, basically the dish is pork belly boiled with ginger and salt, then fried and served with cabbage or leeks. This rendition also had a spicy-sweet chili sauce that was unbelievable on pretty much everything, including (especially?) sauteed pork blood.
All in all, Dumpling Cafe lived up to and even surpassed our expectations, even with their curious definition of meat balls. I can’t wait to go back! Armed with what we know now, I believe the team could put together a meal of truly epic proportions. And about 90 orders of soup dumplings.