My Favorite Dumplings in Rhode Island
The beauty of dumplings. Small, yet packed with flavor, there is a variation on the dumpling in almost every cuisine worldwide. Delicious for any occasion, dumplings can be filled with the traditional vegetables or pork, or the more exotic like curry beef or custard. In Rhode Island there are so many dumplings spots to visit, I have yet to try them all. However, I definitely have my favorite amongst the many I’ve sampled so far. The following are my Favorite Dumplings in Rhode Island (in no particular order).
Sun and Moon Korean Restaurant
Sun and Moon Korean Restaurant is an authentic, family-run Korean restaurant just over the I-195 bridge in East Providence. Chef/owners Il Sun Jeon and Jong Hun Lee strive to provide dishes that feel like home. Sun and Moon offers several different dumplings on the menu. When I think of dumplings I usually think of fried, steamed, seared or boiled, but never in a soup. The vegetable dumpling soup with beef and egg at Sun and Moon is not to be missed. Set in homemade broth, the round dumplings are garnished with strips of cooked egg, seaweed and scallions, which provide myriad textures to play off the soft and silky dumplings. The dumplings, with a ground beef filling provide an overall earthy flavor to this remarkable dumpling soup.
95 Warren Ave., East Providence. 401.435.0214; SunAndMoonKorean.com.
Den Den Café Asiana
Den Den Café is a small casual restaurant that serves Korean and Japanese food. They also have a partner restaurant, Den Den Korean Fried Chicken. Both locations have a wide variety of dumplings, including gyoza—my new favorite. Available in either vegetable or pork, gyoza are pan-seared, Japanese-style dumplings. A crispy tan, thin wrapping is filled with a minced vegetable mixture combined with either tender pork or firm tofu (for vegetarian). Easy to consume, gyoza are perfect for a quick bite any time of the day.
161 Benefit St., Providence. 401.270.5269; DenDenHospitality.com
Tom’s Bao Bao
Tom’s Bao Bao is a counter-service restaurant that offers fresh bao using local ingredients. Bao (or steamed buns) should not be confused with traditional dumplings. It takes a properly trained chef to form each soft fist-sized boa. Traditionally stuffed with pork, Tom’s Bao Bao raises the bar by offering exotic alternatives such as curry beef, chicken, vegetable, and seasonal offerings such as lobster. The curry beef is my favorite. Mild curry, al dente potatoes, carrot and tender beef—who could resist this steamed goodness? Watch as handmade bao, each with its necessary 16-22 intricate pleats, are made before your eyes then placed in a large bamboo steamer where they puff up and get nice and hot. Owner Tom Tong, an entrepreneur from China, brought this authentic tradition to Providence, creating a tasteful journey in every bite.
326 Westminster St., Providence. 401.714.0250; TomsBaoBao.com