The Oregonian declared February 1-7 2015 to be dumpling week, and who am I to disagree? It’s been so full of food porn photos and articles, ranging from dumpling recipes you can make at home to how to eat around the world with 14 dumplings at various restaurants in Portland to even Gluten Free Dumplings.
And of course, there are also for this one special week, a Dumpling Passport you can fill out, collecting stickers from various restaurants in Portland who are offering dumpling specials for this week. Besides the eating of the dumplings themselves of course, some of the fun of Dumpling Week has also been running into other dumpling questers, as we compare notes on the dumplings we have eaten and our routes of dumpling eatings. Here is the list of the 19 Portland Restaurants and their Dumpling Dish.
And here’s my Dumpling Week Recap so far of where I’ve been:
Kachka offered a Lamb Pelmeni with adjika butter, smetana, cilantro and mint for $13. So melt in your mouth, I tried to savor each and every buttery dumpling and not inhale these all like Russian dumpling addict. I already love the normal dumplings on their menu (of all dumplings from around the world, I would pick Eastern European ones as my favorite- pierogi, varenky, pelmeni-, even over Asian dumplings) and these were the first ones I had to make sure I get because I knew they would be excellent.
Boxer Ramen‘s $5 dumpling week dish was Potstickers boiled in their mushroom broth and they are filled with pork, ginger and chives served with sprouts and pulverized kimchee and a garlic ponzu sauce. I went on Day 2 of these and more recent photos on social media swap the sprouts for pickled carrots. Be aware that Boxer is cash only and only the SW Stark location downtown, not the Alberta branch, is participating in Dumpling Week.
Mama Chow’s Kitchen, a food cart, is only open Monday – Friday for lunch and even arriving when they first opened there was a line 12 deep. Everyone was ordering dumplings, so try to get there early for the $7 pan seared version of the wontons that are usually in their wonton soup. Jeff Chow is thinking of keeping it as a regular offering on the menu though, if you want those chubby meaty dumplings but don’t want to deal with the extra crowd right now because of Dumpling Week. The wontons are Chicken and Taiwan Cabbage dumplings on a bed of baby green bok choy served with a spicy dipping sauce. This was one of the few dumpling offerings that came with vegetables, and combined with me also ordering their garlic noodles was a really satisfying lunch worth waiting for it to be made fresh right when I ordered it!
Here’s the Dumpling week entry by Grassa for $12 of Crispy Semolina dumplings with Dungeness Crab, Porcinis, Mint, and House Pancetta. I’m glad that Grassa was concerned I may not be getting enough vegetables with Dumpling Week going on, so seemingly supplied a complimentary salad to go with these dumplings. They make them throughout the day, so even if they may run out during the lunch rush, go back during dinner because they may have made more by then.
Jenn Louis at Lincoln Restaurant went very upscale with her offering of Malloreddus tossed in sea urchin butter with mint and preserved lemon at $18. Malloreddus is a Sardinian word for gnocchi, and these dumplings are a cross between gnocchi and cavatelli pasta, but made with semolina that’s been steeped in saffron water, thus the color you see. While I was here I also had this INSANE dessert special of a Popcorn Panna Cotta with layers of popcorn panna cotta, creme fraiche, and caramel that just freaking incredible. I know some people are filling out their Dumpling Passports by doing a progressive meal with multiple dumpling restaurants (I certainly did that myself), but if you go to Lincoln you should just make it a one stop night because this is so rich that you won’t want to muddle the experience with other stops.
For dumpling week Bollywood Theater‘s two locations offered a chicken/pork version or vegetarian momos, steamed Nepalese dumplings found in Northern India. What you see below are the vegetarian momos because I needed a meat break – they are not vegan because they do have paneer in them with the veggies. Either choice is $8 and is served with radish slaw and spicy tomato chili sauce.
Imperial went back to Chef Paley’s roots in offering Khinkali for Dumpling Week. The $8 dish were 2 palm sized Georgian pork and beef dumplings with herb yogurt. They are served with a little bowl so you can put a dollop of the yogurt in there and make sure to catch the drippings from this soupy meaty dumpling when you bite into/drink from it and eat that with a spoon so nothing is wasted. I turned them upside down in my hand to eat them so they were like a little cup and spooned the yogurt onto my bites as well. Messy but so homey and delicious.
Chef Gregory Gourdet’s winning shrimp dumplings from Top Chef are now at Departure for Dumpling Week, steamed and made with palm sugar, ginger and crispy shallot and those spicy Thai chilis were 3 for $11
Next on my list (Updated 2/6/2015) is Kenny and Zuke’s to try dumplings from a different part of the world: Fried kreplach, a traditional Jewish dumpling, filled with choice of pastrami beef or wild mushroom-leeks. They are served with sauteed onions and sour cream. Between the meat or vegetarian ones, I would recommend the vegetarian ones as the filling has more flavors. You get six dumplings for the $8.75 price, and remember Kenny and Zuke’s is open from breakfast to dinner, unlike some of the other locations which are dinner only.
You can go fancy with the Little Bird Goat cheese gnocchi with mashed English peas, lamb tongue, pea tendrils and fresh Oregon truffles. You can make it vegetarian by asking to hold the lamb tongue if you really need to. A little stingy with the truffles on my plate, but I’ve seen pics that have had twice or three times as many truffle shavings. They have this on their lunch as well as dinner menu, and it is priced at $17.
Where have you eaten for Dumpling Week so far, if you have participated, and what has been your favorite dumpling? In general what are your favorite type of dumplings?