Cuisine: Jiaozi (dumplings) and Sichuanese
Price: 30-60 per person (ordering dumplings is much cheaper than the Sichuan menu)
I used to be a serious jiaozi-hater. The fillings always tasted the same: meat drenched in too much soy sauce. They’d be filled with almost-raw chives, or have wrappers that fell apart. It didn’t seem to matter what we ordered; they all tasted the same! Every time I ate them, I would make unfavourable comparisons with ravioli in my head and promise myself never to spend money on jiaozi again.
It took Baoyuan Jiaozi Wu’s creative, clever jiaozi to change this dumpling-hater’s mind. Their jiaozi wrappers are beautifully coloured – orange, purple, green – making a cheap meal feel festive. (This makes up for their being a little too thin and loose for my taste).
But what really makes Baoyuan’s jiaozi great is the combination of ingredients in the fillings; they’re fresh, innovative, and texturally interesting as well.
Their lotus root and zucchini dumpling (below, left) was delicious! The lotus root, chopped fine, was very crunchy, contrasting with the soft zucchini. This dumpling’s delicate flavour matched nicely with the vinegar at the table.
The smoked pork, radish and chili dumpling (below right) was very, very fiery. Chili addicts will love the mix of chili heat and savoury, fatty smoked pork. The radish added sourness and crunch.
Baoyuan Jiaozi Wu has a Sichuanese menu as well, but we decided to focus on the dumpling offerings. However, a stir-fry of pea shoots (清炒豆苗) was very refreshing, salty with barely a touch of oil.
Baoyuan Jiaozi Wu 宝源饺子屋
North of 6 Maizidian Jie, Chaoyang District (it’s not hard to spot if you look out for a big red-and-white sign with the name of the restaurant in characters).
Open until 10 p.m.