Monday, July 26, 2010

Kingdom of Dumpling--San Francisco, CA

My wife and the younger of my twins entered Kingdom of Dumpling while I fed the parking meter with my older son. When I finally entered the small restaurant I was met with a number of uneasy looks from a number of patrons. I quickly found out why: the younger one had thrown up soon after walking in. It was a difficult car ride up to San Francisco for him and he was queasy much of the way.

The staff was very forgiving, though, and insisted that we not clean up the mess. Also, my boy quickly recovered and displayed a furious appetite. So much so that we needed to request yet another basket of those delicious shao lung bao. To avoid being conspicuous, I pack a small point-and-shoot for eating out and the photo below certainly doesn't do those beautiful dumplings justice. I counted the requisite 24 folds and they passed the suspension test (where I hold the dumpling by the crown and see if juice comes out). The soup inside was delicious and hot. My only quibble was the dumpling could have had a little more meat. But, this was merely a nit, especially when I think back to the disaster at Pan Tao two weekends ago.

The chive pancake wasn't quite what we anticipated, but it was a treat nevertheless. Rather than taking the form of, say, a traditional onion pancake (circular and flat with onion throughout), the pancake was a wrap and the chives were the filling. The pancake itself was greasy and chewy, as good pancakes are.

In addition to diving into the shao lung bao, the twins dived into chicken and corn dumplings, perhaps most notable for their delightful skins, which were air-tight and of a cushiony consistency. Our lunch began with lamb skewers which were tender and spicy, making them hard for our five-year-olds to eat.

This little restaurant of six tables is a tidy, efficient operation which makes it clear from the beginning it tries to attract customers with good food and not its ambiance. The walls are dirty, the plates are all chipped and one has to undertake a delicate dance with the chef in the kitchen just to make it to the restroom. Yet, today's experience was a marvelous one, from the kindness the staff showed my sick, barfing boy to the outstanding dumplings which made him--at long last--hungry and then full.

Kingdom of Dumpling
1713 Taraval St
(between 27th Ave & 28th Ave)
San Francisco, CA 94116