Nestled deep in the OG fabric of San Francisco, Kingdom of Dumpling is the quintessential down to earth dumpling spot. I originally discovered this place a few years ago after a visit to my dentist, whose office is on Noriega Street in the Sunset district. After a routine cleaning, I stuck around to explore the neighborhood and stumbled into an unassuming storefront.
Inside there was only two small freezers and a back kitchen with a window so you could peak in. Behind that glass was a small workspace space for dumpling preparation -- I had just stumbled upon a modern-day freakin' dumpling factory!
I hid my excitement and quietly bought three bags of these doughy delights. The man rang me up and handed me my change with a business card of their restaurant, Kingdom of Dumpling, located on Taraval Street; what can I say, I wear my heart on my sleeve.
Flash forward to the present and I'm back where it all began, the Kingdom. I snag a table with my homie Carlo, and we begin to survey the menu.
A few familiar items and a few foreign, this epic combination usually makes me giddy, so we decide to get a lil of this and a lil of that and take a deep breath, because it's about to be ON.
The sous chef at my restaurant gig told me that the dumplings here are Beijing-style, which is a boiled thick, doughy dumpling. When twelve of these dumplings come per order, you have to ask yourself a sobering question: how far are you willing to go?
We started with the pork and shrimp dumplings with chinese greens, and went onto a second round of pork and napa cabbage dumplings (those were AMAZING).
To balance our meal, we ordered the bean-noodle with cilantro and crispy lotus root. The noodle dish was pretty much tofu spaghetti with a Cilantro garnish, not bad, but not flavor-town. It needed to be sauced more and I had no idea why Cilantro was in the name of the dish. I'm DYING to know what 'bean-noodle' with NO cilantro tastes like, next time. And the lotus root salad was nice.
I've been on a lotus root kick since Kristyn's farm party and I'm still too intimidated to prepare it myself -- I'm sure it's a no brainer kinda thing, but ignorance is bliss. Each bite provided a nice crunch to counter the soft textures of the dumplings.
Then there was you:
The sesame sandwich is a big reason Kingdom of Dumpling stands apart from the rest. It's a thin, yet doughy sesame cake ripped open and filled with marinated beef, green onion, and a lil sweet sauce, like a teriyaki.
Hell yes! No words, y'all, no words -- just delicious.
Streets like Noriega and Taraval are not destinations for the tour-bus crowd. But with dumplings this good, I definitely go out of my way to make a visit.
KINGDOM OF DUMPLING
1713 Taraval Street
San Francisco, CA 94116
*All photographs taken by Melissa D. Gordon