The next installment of I swear there’s good Chinese food in Seattle. Nitpickers, if you want to be exact this one is also outside of city limits, suck it. Fu Man Dumpling House in Shoreline, the menu is small, the sauce is garlicky, and the dumplings, hamburgers, and wraps are really damn good.
Let me clarify hamburgers and wraps first, no they are not what you think of coming from McDonald’s or Applebee’s or any other Western restaurant. The hamburgers are really a type of bao, but stuffed with a huge meatball, and pan fried. When you cut it open a flood of meat juicy goodness pours forth, making a glorious mess. You bite into it and the slightly sweet dough is just dense enough to deliver a chunk of moist meatball to your mouth. (I’m making myself hungry and I’m typing this on an airplane, this may have been a mistake.) It’s firm, but not hard, well seasoned meatbally goodness, and yes meatbally is a word.
The wrap, well, it kind of resembles the wrap that probably first popped into your head, at least visually. There’s a thin piece of bread/tortilla shaped thing holding in some meat and veggies, that is true. The bread though is a Chinese tortilla, a little firmer than a tortilla, no lard – there is lard in tortillas, the good ones anyways; sorry to make your day, it is wrapped around cilantro, shredded cucumber, and slices of cold braised beef. You dip it into soy sauce and soy paste mixture that has had a metric butt-ton of garlic marinating in it for days, and the taste explosion hits. Cooling cilantro and cucumber clash with the garlic balancing themselves and provide the perfect seasoning to the beef. Try not to be greedy, I ordered enough food for an army, it’s how I roll.
Now we come to the reason for the name. The dumplings. Filled with pork and Chinese chives, wrapped in skins that are made each day right there, rolled out to just the right thickness. Too thin and they’re wonton skins and will never hold the filling as it cooks. Too thick and you’re left with a huge mouthful of dough and a very angry me. Seriously, there’s no excuse for skins that are too thick. Do you like your pizza to be all crust? I didn’t think so. Anyways, skins just the right thickness, simply boiled, plated and brought piping hot to the table. You drizzle on some of the garlicky sauce and pop one in your mouth, and immediately do the ooh, ooh, hot face, because you are impatient and forgot that it was boiling just 30 seconds ago. You do it again anyways because it’s good, then as they cool down to a more manageable temperature you start popping them into your mouth as fast as you can chew.
Congratulations, you are now stuffed, and you reek of garlic. You’ve also had some good Chinese food, and I don’t care where you’re from dumplings are comfort food. Now go brush your teeth or something, or don’t.