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Restaurants

Dumpling Village

Posted by Precilla Cheung / Reviewed on December 1, 2010 / review policy

Dumpling VillageDumpling Village is a hidden heaven for dumpling fanatics in Scarborough. Tucked in a tiny plaza amongst a plethora of strip malls on Sheppard Avenue, the place is easy to miss if you're not searching for it. Specializing in Northern Chinese cuisine, the restaurant also dips into Korean territory, serving popular concoctions like spicy pork bone soup and bibimbap. On this occasion, however, my attention is focused on the restaurant's namesake dumplings.

Dumpling RestaurantOnce inside, the smell of freshly steamed dumplings heightens my eagerness for the meal. We are promptly handed a menu sheet to mark down our selections. The extensive menu can certainly use some updating. Most dishes are broken down into various sections, such as dumplings, noodles, pancakes, Korean cuisine and wok masters. But there are several unclassified ones, and two that aren't even translated into English. However, in perspective of the attractive prices - everything on the menu except a fish dish is under $10 - these minor flaws can easily be overlooked.

Dumpling RestaurantWe start with complimentary kimchi and bean sprouts, as per the usual Korean tradition. The wait staff often forgets to serve these appetizers during busy hours (and they did forget on this occasion). As an experienced patron here, I expertly flag down a waitress to ask for some. While they are not spectacular, it's always nice to incorporate some vegetables into the meal.

Dumpling RestaurantThe pancake with chives and eggs ($3.99 for 3) is the first to arrive. Crispy, pan-fried pockets are stuffed with loads of aromatic garlic chives, bits of scrambled eggs and rice noodle. While slightly on the greasier side, the piping hot filling is addictively delicious. I am immediately tempted to order an extra batch to bring home for the next day.

Dumpling RestaurantWe are equally pleased with the braised beef and pancake wrapped in foil ($3.99) - marinated slices of beef shank and spring onions rolled up with a thin piece of green onion pancake. This is a filling snack that's ideal for sharing. The tenderness of the flavourful meat contrasts well with the crispy texture of the pancake. I'm hardly satisfied with just one piece, but I know very well that I must save room for more goodness to come.

Dumpling RestaurantNext, the pork pot stickers ($3.99 for 5) continue to impress, achieving that crispy, almost crunchy bottom that has been pan-fried to a perfect golden brown. The meaty filling is ridiculously juicy, and I happily gobble it down despite the tongue-searing temperature. These pot stickers are undoubtedly well-executed, but I would love to see more varieties on the menu. The restaurant currently offers two variations, in comparison to the 15 types of steamed dumplings available.

Dumpling Restaurant ScarboroughAt long last, the much-anticipated steamed dumplings arrive in style. Each bamboo basket holds 14 plump dumplings steamed to order. Choosing between the 15 options available can be a difficult task. The majority features a combination of pork meat with various types of vegetables, ranging from fennel, chives, cabbage to mushrooms and persimmon. In addition, there are two vegetarian options, as well as a lamb and beef one.

Dumpling RestaurantWe opt for the assorted steamed dumplings with pork ($5.99) and an order of my favourite pork and chives ($4.99). Paired with black vinegar and chilli oil, these dumplings are wonderfully delicious bundles bursting with flavours. And though I'm starting to feel quite stuffed at this point, I can't seem to stop myself from eating more. There is something indescribably comforting about wolfing down scorching hot dumplings, tongue burns and all.

The dumplings are all tasty, but I might just stay away from the assorted option in the future. It's almost impossible to identify the filling without biting into the dumpling, and there are certain vegetables that I am less fond of. Nevertheless, they are collectively delectable, and it's an indulgence that I never tire of.

Even though the options for Chinese food seem virtually limitless in this part of town, the dumplings here always draw me back. Admittedly, the service isn't great - forgotten appetizers aside, it can be challenging at times just to get the staff's attention. I've also sampled other items in the past that are mediocre at best. In spite of this, the dumplings (whether steamed, fried or pan-fried) never disappoint, and for me, that alone is enough reason to forgive the other shortcomings.

Address: 4385 Sheppard Ave. E., Unit 2 & 3, Scarborough, ON, Canada
Closed on Tuesdays

Discussion

9 Comments

HelenInTheEast / December 2, 2010 at 12:01 pm
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This place looks fantastic. I'll definitely give it a try! Thank you.
Greg / December 2, 2010 at 01:37 pm
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1) Go this place.
2) Go Subways.
3) Go
Jen / December 2, 2010 at 05:41 pm
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I went to this place for the first time last week, and ordered the exact same things featured in this article.
Weird!
Joanna / December 2, 2010 at 06:05 pm
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I've only been here once but it was great. The place is a little old and could use some updating but service was quick (granted it was a slow time of the day) and prices are good. We had both fried and steamed dumplings and they were both outstanding! So tender, juicy and full of flavour. Can't wait to go back.
Chen / December 3, 2010 at 12:36 pm
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I'm really not trying to be a hater, but why is a Chinese restaurant that specializes in dumplings also serving Korean food? That just doesn't make sense to me.

I'm either Korean or Chinese, and I wouldn't go to this restaurant.

And its not like they are trying to be 'fusion' either... where they offer thai food, vietnamese etc...

Is that the only way to differentiate themselves amongst all the other dumpling restaurants in the GTA? There are a few dumpling places, but not that many...

Why not just go with some other traditional northern chinese food...

I'm guessing maybe the owners use to live on the border of Northern China and North Korea... hence the blending of the two foods. That's how I'm going to validate the restraurant serving the two foods.
KL replying to a comment from Chen / December 3, 2010 at 01:11 pm
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The concept of restaurateurs serving food they like isn't as alien as you think it is.
EM / December 3, 2010 at 02:43 pm
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I went to this resto for lunch the morning this review went online. Definitely worth the visit. Prices are comparable to Mothers Dumplings on Spadina, but the potstickers are so much better. My coworker and I had the assorted pork dumplings and pork and chives potstickers. Yum!
Not so much / December 4, 2010 at 10:32 pm
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I went to this place based on this review and positive comments, and quite lovely pictures and I must say I disagree about this place. It is truly nothing special.

I ordered:

Pork/chive pot stickers
Pork/chive/egg/shrimp dumplings
Pork and mushroom dumplings
Minced beef dumplings
Braised beef roll
Green onion pancake
Soup

The good: The pot stickers and Pork/chive/egg/shrimp dumplings were pretty solid. Although I wouldn’t say they hold up to my personal fave Mother’s Dumplings, they were certainly not bad.

The rest of the items that I tried were pretty awful. No seasoning. No discernable flavour agents. Just sad little bland course dumpling balls, that broke free of their poorly constructed wrapping shells the second you bit into them. Just a bland, frustrating, soupy mess.

The green onion pancake was like most others I’ve had in Toronto. Which is to say barely mediocre. The braised beef roll was meh and starred an undercooked pancake wrapping and barely any beef. Blahhhhh. Soup was just plain bad. Kimchi was the usual storebought nonsense you find around town.

Service was garbage. Some were friendly but inept. Some were capable but unfriendly.

And it was cash only, which really bothers me. But lots of dumpling places are cash only, so I won’t hold that against them really. Just added to the chorus of the evening’s disappointments.

I really hate being so negative, I truly do. But my experience was definitely different from a lot of other peoples’ it seems. On the plus side the portions were ridiculously huge and the prices were quite cheap. Still, I’d rather have better food and smaller portions however. Won’t be returning, despite the pretty pics and raves.
Siu Mai / February 19, 2011 at 11:47 am
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I love dumplings - I would love recommendations (downtown) from anyone who is NOT impressed by Mother's. Thanks so much in advance!

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