I don’t know what it is, but I have really been craving Chinese food lately. The closest thing Pdho and I have to a go-to Chinese place is San Tung, but it gets so crowded so fast that we really have a narrow window to eat there. Today happened to be one of those days so as a back-up plan, we decided to head further out to check out Kingdom of Dumpling. It’s way the heck out there in the Parkside neighborhood, not that I really know where that is. The restaurant is pretty tiny and by the time we got there, people were already waiting. It’s a typical hole in the wall Chinese place with sticky menus rickety furniture, but I was hoping this might be a good sign of tasty food to come. Since we had to wait over 30 minutes, this only ended up making us hungrier by the time we got seated and we ordered way more than we probably should have.
Dumplings were supposedly the specialty of this place so we had to try the steamed Pork and Shrimp Dumplings and the Shanghai Soup Dumplings. The Pork and Shrimp ones were fine. I thought the dumpling skin was a little on the thick side, but they weren’t gummy at all which them quite edible.
The Shanghai Soup Dumplings were good, although they weren’t the best I’ve had. The filling was a little bit plain and it didn’t have the same piping hot soup that usually oozes out with one bite. I have always enjoyed the crab and pork version that I’ve found at other xiao long bao places, so although these were good, they weren’t great.
The Onion Pancake really wasn’t much to write home about. The onion flavor was very faint making the very essence of the onion pancake pretty non-existent. It really needed something to give it some flavor.
I ended up ordering the Crispy Chicken Wings, because I was still thinking about the San Tung chicken wings we were missing out on. Unfortunately, these were a huge disappointment in comparison. The wings weren’t really crispy at all. It looked like they were fried and then doused in an extremely sweet caramelized sauce of some sort.
I was expecting the Beef Chow Fun with X.O. Sauce to have a little bit more of a kick seeing as it was using X.O. sauce, but it didn’t really taste like there was anything beyond some soy sauce to season this average-tasting beef chow fun. It didn’t taste bad, but I really was expecting a little bit more.
We were pretty full by the time the Beef Tendon Noodle Soup came out, so I didn’t get more than a taste of the soup. It had a nice beefy flavor to the broth, but Pdho was expecting a little more complexity beyond regular beef stock. I would agree that it wasn’t as rich as the spicy beef noodle that you normally get at Taiwanese cafes.
It was a little ironic how we were trying to avoid a wait at San Tung only to end up waiting at Kingdom of Dumpling. Unfortunately, the food was not deserved of the wait. I’m actually quite surprised that the Yelp reviews were so numerous and positive, but aside from the dumplings everything else we ordered was pretty average. I think the wait has more to do with the fact that the restaurant is just small and can’t accommodate many people.
Kingdom of Dumpling
1713 Taraval St.
San Francisco, CA 94116
PAFO Ratings for Kingdom of Dumpling:
Ambiance 2 stars
Food 3 stars
Overall rating 3 stars