A year-round comfort food, dumplings are a welcome appetizer or main course, whether for an evening out or weekend brunch. For those who like to indulge in these precious little parcels, stuffed with tasty combinations of meat, veg or seafood, here are the hot spots to taste and savour this dim sum mainstay:
Here’s our roundup of where you can find Toronto’s best dumplings.
(Image: asian legend)
1. Asian Legend
Savour the steamed shu mai or the pork pot stickers as an appetizer in this popular Asian chain restaurant that focuses on northern Chinese cuisine. Opening its first location in the city’s downtown Chinatown in 1988, the restaurant has Taiwanese and Mainland Chinese chefs producing all kinds of dumplings, including the must-have steamed shrimp dumplings or the steamed soup-filled dumplings with dried scallops, pork and luffa.
Asian Legend, 418 Dundas St. W., 416-977-3909
2. Chinese Traditional Bun
Tucked away in the Kensington Market neighbourhood, this wee hole in the wall is far from trendy and stylish, but its devotion to northern Chinese cuisine and tasty shao mai have led to a strong word of mouth to keep diners showing up at the door. Hipsters, foodies and Chinatown locals happily indulge in the freshly-made shao mai such as beef with onion, shrimp and pork or mushroom with bok choy and tofu, served up by the Ma family..
Chinese Traditional Bun, 536 Dundas St. W., 416-299-9011
(Image: dumpling house)
3. Dumpling House
Located in the east side Chinatown, Mr and Mrs Li opened this restaurant in 2012, offeringtraditional tastes od dumplings, first offered in their previous restaurant in China. The long list of dumplings provides ample opportunity to sample a wide variety of steamed, boiled and pan fried favourites, such as boiled chive, pork and shrimp dumplings, pan fried lamb dumplings and steamed cabbage, mushroom and pork dumplings.
Dumpling House, 619 Gerard St. E.,, 416-901-0288
4. King's Cafe
This busy vegetarian restaurant offers a wide range of Chinese dishes, and avoids any preservatives or chemicals in any of its menu options. Thanks to a location within Kensington Market, the regular bounty of vegetables from the local markets fuels the daily offering of steamed or pan-fried dumplings, filled with a tasty combination of mushroom and vegetables or the five grain rice dumplings, made with sorghum, oat, brown rice, barley and pearl rice.
King's Cafe, 192 Augusta Ave., 416-591-1340
5. Mother's Dumplings
Direct from southeast Shenyang, China to College & Spadina, the owner’s Mum’s recipes for dumplings has become a local obsession for foodies with line-ups a regular part of this Chinatown dining experience. Diners can watch the staff making dumplings and indulge in unique combinations such as boiled vegetarian dumpling, chives and noodles dumpling, steamed melon, tofu, vegetable and noodle dumpling, or popular options like shrimp, pork, egg and chive or lamb shu mai.
Mother's Dumplings, 421 Spadina Ave., 416-217-2008
(Image: Pearl court)
6. Pearl Court
This Gerrard Street mainstay is all about yum cha, the ritual of tea and dim sum. With an endless pot of jasmine or green tea, savour Chinese steamed dumpling classics such as har gow (shrimp), siu mai (shrimp and pork) or scallop and shrimp or pan fried faves like vegetarian, pork or shrimp and chive dumplings. Hungry dumpling lovers should go beyond their regular must-haves to taste the steamed seafood chive dumplings or the fried half-moon shrimp dumplings.
Pearl Court, 633 Gerrard St. E., 416-463-8778
7. Rol San
The lure of all day dim sum and its freshly-made dumplings have made this restaurant in the heart of Chinatown a weekend brunch habit for locals. It’s worth the wait in line for steamed jumbo har gow (shrimp dumpling) and it’s a must to indulge in the Crab and pork dumpling soup, a cold-weather must-have. Other addictive faves include steamed meat and shrimp dumplings, pork dumplings and soup dumplings with minced chicken and chive.
Rol San, 323 Spadina Ave., 416-977-1128
Waheeda Harris is a freelance journalist who is a regular at YYZ and is always looking for a new hot sauce to add to her collection. Follow her travels around our planet on Twitter @waheedaharris and on Instagram at instagram.com/waheedaharris/.