Chinese Dumplings made to the press?
It was rumored that Canadians come down to Little Ting’s to have dumplings.
So, off we go in the car to North Seattle.
On the busy street of Greenwood Ave., Little Ting’s Dumplings sits in a small, 2-unit, unassuming building.
Based on the looks, it used to be a sushi restaurant.
We went on a Wednesday for lunch, and the place was full with one last table open just for us.
Two people behind the counter were engaged in making dumplings with utmost focus.
We sat down and ordered pork and pickled vegetable dumplings, beef and onion pot stickers, baby shrimp and chives pan-fried buns, spicy beef tendon, hand-made noodle in spicy sauce and a side of milk tea.
While waiting for food, perfect time to check out condiments.
Black vinegar, home-made chunky spicy sauce and a super garlicky soy sauce — awesome!
First came the spicy beef tendon.
It was superb!
Even though it had plenty of pepper seeds visually, it was quite misleading the dish was not very spicy hot at all.
The beef tendon was cold, crunchy and full of flavors of garlic and soy; sweet, pungent, and just simply addictive, one of the best tendons I had in a while.
Next came the baby shrimp and chives pan-fried buns.
From the English part of the menu, I was expecting small fresh shrimps inside the dumplings; but the Chinese menu said that it was “shrimp skin” in the buns.
“Shrimp skins” are super small shrimps that are dried, and used in Chinese cooking, and those were in Little Ting’s pan-fried buns.
The flavors were fresh, mild with a hint of seafood.
What I didn’t expect was the buns were not the Shanghainese pan-fried buns I was used to (such as the ones in Dough Zone, with a fluffier flour dough), but was basically a thicker dumpling skin, then pan-fried.
Still crisp bottoms with chewy skin, pretty good.
Next came the pork and pickled vegetable dumplings.
These dumplings were boiled in water: pork was tender and the pickled vegetables were salty and with slight sourness as expected in Chinese pickled vegetables.
The dumpling skin was the thick type, which was more Northern Chinese style than the thin skin Cantonese style, and with good chew and clean simple flour flavor.
Multiple surprises came from the beef and onion pot stickers.
One, I was expecting them to be in different shapes than the boiled dumplings, which was what I was accustomed to (usually dumplings are rounder, and the pot stickers are longer shape, sometimes even different types of wrapping).
At little Tings’, the nomenclature was only for the method of cooking: same dumplings but pan-fried is pot sticker, and boiled are dumpling.
Another surprise was the filling.
The beef was strong sweet soy-flavored stewed beef; I was used to dumplings with mild and slightly marinated beef.
They were delicious, and certainly no sauce required.
Lastly, the hand-made noodle with spicy sauce was also not very spicy at all, but more greasy.
Again, the English menu only said that the noodles were hand-made and came with spicy sauce, but did not say anything about the grease part.
A peak in the Chinese on the menu, one will find that the dish was all about the grease.
In fact, traditionally, it was a lard-tossed noodle.
Flavors were good, and the noodle texture was excellent: right amount of thickness, right amount of chew.
I did find eating the noodle as its was lacking a little in flavor dimension, but when I added the house-made garlic soy sauce to it, they were really good!
One note on the milk tea, it was made with fresh milk, but far too little tea.
What was in there was a nice Jasmine tea with light floral flavors, not too sweet and creamy — probably would not order that again.
They also sell flavor variations of the milk tea by adding jam (strawberry and peach).
Little Ting’s offers some griddle-cooked dishes that looked interesting.
Alas, we had no more space in the stomach; in fact, we had so much left over, the food was returning home with us.
Verdict: Little Ting’s has good Northern style dumplings, and I am glad that we have a shop like Little Ting’s in Seattle.
If I was Canadian, I would not drive down just for the dumplings.
In fact, I live only 16 miles from the restaurant, and I am not sure I want to battle the traffic to the westside for them.
I will, however, buy their frozen dumplings, and enjoy them at home!