Phat’s Dumpling House
I saw Phat’s Dumpling House on my way to Lu Bu and first thing caught my eyes was the restaurant’s logo, a chubby cheek version of a Buddhism figure. And dumplings, I am definitely in.
After scrolling through all Instagram posts at the place (you know, just to be sure no one gets poisoned), I got there on a high temperature noon looking for something just to fill my stomach. I know it’s not the right attitude when you try out a new place, but I had a late breakfast so whatever.
The restaurant was smaller than as in the Instagram photos (well done people, well done!). It looks like a modern place just like anywhere else, except all decorations say Chinese. Red color theme, Chinese/Hong Kong style posters and mahjong stuck on the walls and black vinegar and soy sauce on each table.
Being quite packed already, I got myself the pork and shrimp steam dumplings in Szechuan chili pepper sauce, roasted duck baos and sugarcane juice with water chestnut. The sugarcane juice turned out to surprise me the most. It is not the first time I drink sugarcane juice so I am pretty confident how it tastes like, except it does not. The sugarcane juice has an in-depth flavor to it, more like the sugarcane sauce you use to dip Vietnamese traditional ‘banh gio’ in, rather than the juice freshly pressed out of the sugarcane. The deeper the flavor, the sweeter it is, but don’t worry, water chestnut is here to rescue you. A good crunchy texture and refreshing taste will relax your sugar intake.
Here come my steam dumplings, three glistening little guys sitting nicely on a bed of Szechuan chili oil, oh yes. The dumpling skin was nicely thin and translucent, the filling is flavorful and the numbing chili oil does add some charisma to the dish. Hot oil or Chinese chili oil, especially Szechuan hot oil may not be everybody’s cup of tea due to its oily feels and spice kick. Not my case though. The Szechuan hot oil definitely gave the simple steam dumplings a lift. A little bit of Chinese black vinegar and a little bit of light soy sauce, boom, there goes my flavorful bite. And VND55,000 for 3 steam dumplings in a District 2 restaurant, come on, it is a pretty good deal don’t you think?
After the quite good steam dumplings, the roasted duck baos seem to be a nickel below my expectation. Why? Because it is not a sad bao, but also not a happy bao that make you excited, awaiting and then fulfilled right at your first bite. Roasted duck baos come at VND 70,000 with two baos filled with one or two pieces of roasted duck, sliced cucumber, some fresh herbs and slightly spicy (if not spicy at all) hoisin sauce. I can imagine the tasty duck if it comes in a larger quantity and freshly roasted from the oven. You know a little fantasy does not kill.
My meal came in at VND175,000 mostly of carbs and meat, but you can get some stir-fried veggies if you wish. To me it was a good enough meal for its price and maybe I will come back another time to try more varieties of dumplings and baos. Maybe I should start recruiting people to go eat with because apparently people will stare at you when you stuff your mouth with baos and dumplings and they will sit there making silent judgments because you are on your own?!?