Richmond has been known as the destination of great Chinese food, especially for Cantonese cuisine. But over the last few years, the new Chinese immigrants are from all different Chinese provinces, and they have brought over their regional cuisines, which are worth trying. This time I had a chance to try one of the cuisines at Oriental Dumpling King (東方餃子王) near Aberdeen station and their specialties include Chinese dumplings and regional dishes from Dongbei, China.
Donbei, also known as Manchuria, and home of the 3 most north-eastern Chinese provinces sharing the borders with Russia and North Korea.
Although not considered as one of big 8 for the Chinese regional cuisines, Dongbei folks own a few well-known dishes in China. The big 8 are Cantonese, Sichuan, Hunan, Fujian, Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Anhui, and the other famous cuisines, such as Chiuchow, Hakka, and Shanghai, are the based on the big 8. With the usual long winters, Dongbei would prefer the meat-and-potato kind of comfort food. Fresh vegetables used to be precious in the cold season, and similar to Korea, the people have adapted eating a lot of pickled vegetables.
Dongbei dumplings, however, are pretty much the same with dumplings in other Northern Chinese provinces. In the North, dumplings are the soul food for special occasions like Chinese holidays and family gatherings. The most popular flavour is probably the Pork and Chinese Cabbage. Here at the restaurant, there are 15+ types of pork dumpling made with different vegetables. The house special dumpling is the 3-Fresh Meat Dumplings ($6.95). The 3-fresh is referring to the 3 fresh ingredients including pork, shrimp, and Chinese chive. The dumpling skin was thin and the filling was super flavourful. We were quite impressed.
My date wanted to try the Pork and Sour Pickled Cabbage Dumplings ($7.95). As it was not the most popular dumpling dish, it took a little longer for them to prepare it. Yes for these ones, they actually made them from scratch upon orders, which is quite nice. However, I found the flavour of the pickled cabbage a little too overpowering. I’m sure some people would love this.
We also tried a couple typical Dongbei dishes. The Beef & Potato was a simple dish but it was considered something luxury during and after the wartime in Communist Russia and China. The slow cooked meat was soft but still had a bit of a chew. Having absorbed the flavours from the soy sauce seasoning and the beef, the potato was the tastiest part of the dish. The added onions and bell peppers provided a bit of a crunch. It was such a nice warm and comforting plate of food.
Potato and BeefWe thought the Pork with Cabbage and Frozen Tofu was another stew dish, but it turned to be more like a soup. It was also another simple but tasty dish.
The service was a little hectic here but was acceptable considering how packed the place was. The dumplings are really good here. I make dumplings myself occasionally and I also eat a lot of store-bought frozen ones. Freshly made dumplings are always miles better. The dumpling filling here has a nice balance of meat and vegetable and tastes fresh and well seasoned. As for their Dongbei dishes, they really nailed those old-school comforts such as the Beef and Potatoes, once a heavenly dish during the difficult time, the nostalgia for many millennials from the Manchurian provinces.
Oriental Dumpling King
4200 No 3 Rd, Richmond