Dumplings are a shared magic, common to almost every culinary canon, present, in wildly differing forms, in nearly all cuisines. From Japanese gyoza and Chinese

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Best Dumplings

Mandarin Chef

Dumplings are a shared magic, common to almost every culinary canon, present, in wildly differing forms, in nearly all cuisines. From Japanese gyoza and Chinese pot stickers to Tibetan momo, Russian pelmeni, and Polish pierogis, dumplings are one of those food memes that buried themselves deep and close to the heart of all people and flourished across countless generations as one of the world's most perfect comfort foods. At Mandarin Chef, Sang Lam learned to make his dumplings from the source, training and working as a cook in China's Sichuan province for years before coming to the U.S. and bringing all that heavy dumpling knowledge with him. Now, in the most unprepossessing spot imaginable, he serves them, to crowds of loyal fans, by the giant platter—15 and 26 at a time, dressed only in a bit of soy, a bit of red-pepper paste. Once you discover this small shotgun shack in the U District, have your needs tended to by Lang Lam (Sang's wife, who works the floor), and are offered your first plate of jiao-zi, you'll understand the pull of these little balls of dough. —Jason Sheehan 5022 University Way N.E., 528-7596

 
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