Gabe’s 2018 Five 5’s: Soup Dumplings
1. Hop Sing Palace - Sutter Street Folsom
De gustibus non est disputandum, heh, nah nah nah... Alright, (raises hand) permission to speak normally? Hop Sing Palace is home to Sacramento’s BEST soup dumpling and quite honestly there is simply nothing like it!
It was on aday I stayed home sick, in the dead of winter that I found myself heading to Downtown Folsom to pick up an order of Wor Wonton Soup from Hop Sing Palace. Wor Wonton Soup, per the menu, is described as meat dumplings of pork in with slices of barbecued pork, shrimp with bamboo shoots, bok choy, shiitake mushrooms in a warm savory broth.
Staying home sick and getting Hop Sing Palace take out turned out to be one of the best decisions of MY LIFE! No joke, I can say for a fact that this soup is one of the top 5 best dishes I’ve ever eaten.
All dumplings are great for a fact, but when you get a spot-on seasoning in the soup mixed in with an amalgam of the freshest of fresh -bamboo shoots, shiitake mushrooms, and bok choy- then it’s just a whole new ball game. Wow! This soup was great!
2. Fat’s Asia Bistro- Eureka Road Roseville
It was a Friday in January and I started my weekend early. I took off from work around noon, called it a half day, and headed to Roseville to see Phantom Thread (see my five 5’s of 2018 – Movie edition for the review). I was a little early so I stopped in for some Wor Wonton Soup and dumplings at Fat’s- to fill my belly before the film.
I was alone because I had a half day from work and nobody else was as excited as I was to see a Paul Thomas Anderson film that was only playing in Roseville at the time. So I just did it... Now, the soup!
Fat’s Wor Wonton Soup has chicken breast, shrimp, barbecued pork, shrimp and pork won tons, with bok choy, bamboo shoots, shiitake mushrooms and it’s in a savory broth.
The soup is superb and robust in flavor. Earlier in the year, it had been my favorite. The seasoning was flavorsome, and the vegetables were fresh, which packed an extra punch of yummy flavor to the dish. The dumpling dough was oooey-gooey and in that perfect, middle-ground of being half solid and half liquid. I yearn for dough like that. When you bite through the dough it leaves the flavors of the pork and shrimp dumpling melding in your mouth.
It’s a near perfect bite. A close second.
3) Harry’s Cafe 16th St , Downtown
Harry’s Cafe on 16th was one of my favorite presentations of the Wor Wonton/ Dumpling Soup. I got there mid morning, close to eleven, all the patrons in the restaurant were eating breakfast foods and I guess it was a little out of place to order the Wor Wonton soup, but it was 2018- bam!-the year of the dumpling! So, I did it up. They brought out a ceramic Chinese soup spoon before the soup came. This was my first time I used a spoon, this year and I got a little giddy with anticipation. It came out and it was steaming hotI straight piping. I put my face over it to breathe it in and the smell from the amalgam of chicken broth, rice wine vinegar, garlic, onions, and sesame oil just lingered into my nostrils and just permeated and resonated for what felt like an eternity.
It was time to dig in and taste this dumpling. I dunked my ceramic spoon into the soup and maneuvered a dumpling onto my spoon. Pulled it out and blew on it for it was still far too fucking hot to eat. After it settled and cooled for a few seconds, I ate it. Damn! The texture of the dumplings outer dough shell was great. Quite good. The salted pork inside the dumpling was salty and savory and although it didn’t reach the heights of matching Hop Sings’ flavor profile with the broth, it was still a great dumpling and nevertheless dumpling after dumpling later, I walked out completely fulfilled.
4. Dim Sum House - Broadway Sacramento
Known for their Barbecued Pork Bao, the Dim Sum House offers fine dim sum, on the cheap. If you’re looking to fill up and you’re not wielding a king’s ransom, then this is the perfect little stop for a quick in-and-out grub down.
I think I’ve been in three times this year, but whenever I go, I always see the chef/ owner in the back, behind an open door, wrapping dumplings. As though he is a live working of art, framed by the door. I like to think of it as a naked display of dumplings being wrapped with love. It’s a bit of a transcendental moment that I always see him wrapping dumplings, yet he never sees me eat since I always order take-out. It feels as though I get to see him working his craft, yet he doesn’t get to see me working mine…enjoying his delicious dumplings.
On the real, this is a cool little spot for Dim Sum in our area. Their Pork Bao’s are doughy and packed with boundless flavorful meat. They have delicious pork dumplings and a variety of inexpensive dim sum options. It’s a pretty decent late afternoon date spot.
The pork soup dumpling here is really decent. The dough isn’t overly thick and the release of salty flavors as you sink your teeth into the dumpling marries nicely with the savory vegetable broth. It’s not perfect but it made my top five soup dumplings of the year. If you are in the area I would recommend taking a quick dumpling outing here.
5. Peace Cuisine: Jefferson blvd,
There’s a difference from being in a hole in the wall restaurant to being in a restaurant where you’ll need to wait fifteen minutes for a table. Peace Cuisine is a celebrated hole in the wall restaurant with a great Wor Wonton Soup.
Peace Cuisine has a wonderfully tasty soup and I really ranked the dumplings in the soup fourth based on, its taste, but most of all based on the dumplings tail. Yes, the dumplings in the Wor Wonton Soup have a little extra tail on them. It’s an extra little strip of dough that you feel slide down your throat that is delicious and brings an added element of providing mor texture to a complex soup.
But, spectacularly, it’s a soup where the star of the soup isn’t quite the dumpling. The star of the soup is the barbecued pork, holy moly, sinking your teeth through the glaze of the pork and through the meat is an explosion of flavor that you must experience. Out of this world territory.