Wang Si Ge Dou Ban Chao Shou Dumplings
77, Beixin Xiang
We were originally drawn to this dumpling shop by the crowd inside, which was impressive considering the number of good local restaurants in the area. This shop specializes in chao shou dumplings in a thick, savoury, spicy sauce that features lots of the local spicy bean sauce, dou ban jiang. After sitting down we figured out the place is something of a local chain, endorsed by a familiar face smiling at us from the menu card – comedian Li Bo Qing, whose Sichuanese comedy makes him one of the best known performers and TV personalities.
Most of the customers were digging into bowls of chao shou dumplings in either white broth or the spicy version. They also sell the steamed, meat stuffed rice dumplings half wrapped in a leaf – ye er ba. Their shuijiao dumplings are also popular. We tried each specialty on successive visits – the chao shou, hand wrapped and generously filled with a spicy sauce that they are bottling and selling; the ye er ba, nice and chewy and also generously stuffed, and the shuijiao, obviously handmade and in a sweeter sauce than is served over chao shou, as per tradition. No matter how busy the dining room was everything was cooked to order; we noted that every time we ordered a fried egg on the side it came out crispy and freshly fried instead of reheated. The staff were pretty busy taking orders, clearing tables, and calling out order numbers – customers need to keep an ear out for their order number or it’s hard for their food to find them.
There was a vintage propaganda film playing in the dining room the first time we went and a fantasy flick with elaborate special effects another time, so we surmise the videos are designed to increase dining room turnover. Cost per diner between 10 and 20 RMB.