Golden Dumpling Restaurant is as accurately named as it can get. I don’t know what they serve at restaurants with names like Flying Phoenix or Red Dragon, but at the very least I know the old King’s Hot Pot space is selling golden dumplings. It’s my new favourite dumpling restaurant in Edmonton and I’ll tell you why.
Across from the Nissan dealership on 101 Street and 109 Avenue, the space shares parking with karaoke bar, Bar Code. It’s a typical Chinese restaurant with dated flooring and banquet seating, with tables reminiscent of its old days as a communal hot pot establishment. Contending with individualized pots at Asian Express Hot Pot, Urban Shabu, and 97 Hot Pot, I can empathize with the owners as to why they changed their menu.
The menu is a mishmash of items, separated into Appetizer/Snacks, Special Cold Dishes, Hot Pot Rice, Handmade Dumplings, Handmade Steamed Stuffed Buns, and Handmade Noodles. There’s a star system that I can only assume are representative of their best dishes since there’s no legend to be found. There’s a ton of mistranslations, no thanks to Google translate. Streaky Pork on Rice is really pork belly, that’s been confirmed.
I would have never ordered the Tofu Jelly without my friend Lesley. It’s not a jelly at all, but a soft housemade tofu in a soup with seaweed, sesame, and a handful of cilantro. It’s a perfect starter dish and in traditional Chinese medicine, fantastic for your skin.
Handmade Green Onion Cake is the flatter variety and packed with green onions. Rolled and pressed into delicious layers, half the fun was peeling away at the appetizer. A touch on the oily side, it’s different from your standard fluffy, yet crisp green onion cake.
Dumplings come by the dozen and are steamed, but you can get them pan fried for an extra $1.50. You cannot mix and match, much to my dismay. Pork and Cabbage dumplings are flavourful, juicy, and generously filled. Joe really enjoyed them, your dreams of a traditional dumpling coming true.
Lamb & Carrots dumplings have been my favourite so far. I’ve ordered them three times now and can’t seem to break out of the mold. They’re that good. They have a very mild game flavour for those who are hesitant of lamb, and slightly sweet. The dough is of perfect thickness for pan frying and holds well even by the end of the meal and numerous dips into the accompanying sauce. If you’re a dumpling fanatic, you might want to add a touch more table side red vinegar.
Fair warning: bite gently as the dumplings are hot and chances of dumpling juices squirting across the table is high. Joe’s jacket can attest to that. A part of me wants to say that they’re better than any other dumpling I’ve had in Edmonton (including Shanghai 456’s pan fried dumpling) but the other part of me knows that would cause a wave in Edmonton’s dumpling circle. Try these dumplings and let me know.
Handmade Steamed Stuffed Buns (Pickled Chinese Cabbage with Vermicelli). Translation is “big steamed buns” and big they are. Coming in a trio, these buns weren’t noteworthy and comparable to the ones you can buy at your local Asian supermarket. I prefer the Vietnamese-style steamed buns where the dough is a bit fluffier and slightly sweeter so I’m also partially biased.
On our first visit, Joe and I tried the handmade noodle soups: Spicy Tom Yum King Seafood Noodle Soup and Braised Beef Noodle Soup. Stop right there, I hear you saying “Why order a spicy tom yum soup from a northern Chinese restaurant.” Joe will be Joe and order anything soup, noodle, spicy, in that order. You get a choice between regular or wide noodles or spinach noodles. Although the noodles are housemade, they’re not comparable to our staple Noodle Feast or Wheat Garden Noodle and Dumpling Bazaar for that matter. Somehow the day’s noodles were slightly firm, and remained that way throughout the meal, and didn’t have that chew or elasticity that I was looking for.
There were numerous bites of seafood for Joe, which he seemed to enjoy. I thought the dish was lacklustre and the broth tasted like something I could have easily premixed at home. My braised beef was dry and unappetizing. The broth was flavourful but lacking in body.
When I tried the House Special Soybean Paste Noodle (with Spinach Noodles) the consistency was considerably better. I’m wondering if the first visit was an isolated incident but I won’t know until my next trip! The soybean paste mixture is not overly salty and coated the strands as you mixed your bowl. Add on chili oil and this dish was fantastic.
I’m hoping Golden Dumpling will improve on their noodle dishes and hope to come back to try it again. I’m also curious about their hot pot rice dishes to compare to one of my favourites at Tao Garden. Maybe one day I’ll even get the regular steamed dumplings. For now, all I can say is that the pan-fried dumplings are indeed golden. Pure gold.
Golden Dumpling Restaurant
10939 101 St NW