Recently, I heard something I could hardly believe. Mr. Chen’s-arguably the best Chinese restaurant in Birmingham-serves soup dumplings.

Mr. Foodie and I lived in Philadelphia for 10 years, which has one of the best Chinatowns in the US. This experience completely spoiled us. We are used to eating non-greasy Chinese food with fresh ingredients, and have come to love dim sum — a Cantonese style of bite sized dining which typically includes dumplings.

A really good dumpling – one that isn’t from the freezer section, that is hand made with perfectly seasoned filling – is hard to find. One specific type of dumpling that I have only found in restaurants in Chinatowns is a soup dumpling, also known as a juicy dumpling. These guys are filled not only with meat but with boiling hot soup. For more information on how on earth this is even possible, read this. Eating a soup dumpling should come with instructions-without advance notice you could really burn your face off. But if you are aware of the proper method of consumption, you are in for a treat.

Look for “small steam bun” on Mr. Chen’s appetizer menu. They come in batches of 10, and look like ordinary dumplings:


Here’s what to do:

Pick up the dumpling like so (dip it in the sauce if you wish):


Take a tiny bite out of the corner, and pour off at least some of the soup into a spoon:


Put the dumpling into the spoon (works better with large spoon), and slurp/eat. Delicious.

Kudos to our awesome friends who tipped us off that Mr Chen’s has soup dumplings!!

This certainly isn’t enough food for an entire meal. We combined this with our favorite Mr. Chen’s entree-cilantro chicken. This consists of shredded white meat chicken along with thin slices of tofu and cilantro in a light sauce. I’ve never seen this dish anywhere else and it is absolutely amazing.


Mr. Chen's on Urbanspoon