When I was younger, one of the most precious and sought after gifts I received from my grandmother came in the medium of a white envelope. Sometimes the package was big enough to fit in both my palms cupped together and sometimes it fit well enough into a single palm that I could gently enclose my fingers over it. Those white parcels always symbolized pockets filled with goodies and warm with the love that crafted them.
We called them mandoo – the Korean word for dumplings. Once those white pouches of bliss cooled down enough, I often forced them into being bite-sized. This sometimes led to comical bursts of furious exhaling, but more often satisfied silence.
Since childhood, I was tempered and forged into the keen dumpling devourer that I am today. Now, here with my allies, I stand ready to feed that insatiable hunger for dumplings at Dumpling Generation.
Dumpling Generation caught my eye one day in a small lot with an eclectic mix of stores – a karaoke, a Korean restaurant, reflexology parlor and a Dominos. I immediately jotted the name down in The Noodle’s quests board. Several weeks later, we assembled and while my partners scanned the menu front to back, I took the search & recon strategy that I like to implement at new places – I ogled at the steaming dishes at other tables. Duck, noted, dumplings noted, cold noodles, noted. I knew what I was about real quick and proceeded to open the menu. The menu is relatively sparse but covering a variety of genres – appetizers, dumplings, hot pots, etc. I like a sparse menu, it implies a specialized restaurant that knows what they’re about.
I was very thrilled with the place so far. This place obviously specialized in dumplings (and if you know me, I’m a self-proclaimed dumpling glutton) and the place had some great reviews on a certain duck dish. Two things that drive a man wild…okay, I’ll concede not every man, but this man. But I’ll leave Winny and Quang to tell you about the voodoo they serve on dishes here.
I love dumplings which means that when Shawn suggested we check this place out, it was an obvious “Yes, we must go.” The menu had beef noodle soup but Seattle hit 100 that day and it seemed like a terrible idea. I made the decision to get the spicy cold noodles. There’s not much to these noodles, but they were delicious. They were thin noodles, almost like vermicelli but a little bit shorter with a spicy chili oil over the top and some cilantro. They were delicious to say the least. Perfect dish for a hot day.
My mom’s homemade dumplings have always been my favorite in the world. One of the things that I never quite realized I missed was having chives in the dumplings. I haven’t actually had chives in dumplings at a restaurant….ever…but we grow them back home so it was a staple ingredient for our homemade dumplings. These dumplings were a nice reminder of home and they were delicious. I think they had a great consistency, plus some soup inside almost like xiao long bao. And the skin was a bit on the thicker side which made them easier to eat in my opinion.
This place was a great find by Shawn. Unfortunately, I was unable to arrive on time to order an item off the menu but at least when I arrived, there was food already at our table and my partners were already eating. They had ordered a couple noodle dishes, a duck item, and an order of dumplings. The noodles were great. Noodles had the right texture and they weren’t too salty, which is always a plus. The duck was half a salted duck, which does not sound as salty as you think. Duck meat can be really tough to eat if not cooked properly. You could tell that they had taken the time to cook the duck properly from the taste and the tenderness of the meat. I highly recommend duck as an alternative to chicken because it is more flavorful. Of course, we had to order a set of dumplings because a place called Dumpling Generation must make some good dumplings and you will not be disappointed. Like Dub-C stated they have soup inside, which is like Xiao Long Bao but it did not same have texture or taste. The dumpling skin was thicker than the usual dumpling so they were probably made in house because from my past experience the skin is thinner. Really simple dish but absolutely some of the best I have had in a long time. I can’t wait to go back again and check out the other dishes they have to offer.
NEXT EPISODE: A NIGHT AT THE MARKET!
We’ve got some stuff in work but until that comes out, I just need a place to share some of my favorite food pictures from wandering Vietnam. Check it out.
We only spent about 2 days in Vietnam (Shawn spent an extra day there eating) but we spent most of the time eating. I’ll post more soon!
The Noodle has been on a bit of a break because things got crazy. Did you know that Quang-izzle got married? He’s married!
So there was wedding planning, dance practice, heavy eating, trip prepping and everything in between in work so we may have been a little distracted from The Noodle.
But that doesn’t mean that we stopped eating.
Over the next few weeks you’ll see posts about what we’ve had in Seattle and what we ate while we were celebrating Quang-izzle’s wedding.
Here’s a preview:
If you’re interested in seeing our food via Instagram check out us out! Instagram!
Cue: Epic film score and Inferno!
The heat was nigh unbearable – scorching our traveled feet and desiccating our ragged breaths. In this ultimate, dire moment, we stared down into the pit at the intertwining, swirling ropes of molten earth and slowly slid our wooden chopsticks from their paper sheaths and hoisted our spoons. Surely only dragon could swim under those fiery rivers. We matched each others’ gazes in a second of support, then turned our eyes back down towards the lava pit. With vigor we dug into the bowls of fire essence…sitting at the back of restaurant Sichuanese Cuisine!
In a lot of Asian cultures, spicy food is a key method to beat the heat of summer.
This is a popular spot and actually sort of a franchise with another location in Redmond and several in Texas…strange, I know. I’ve come to the Seattle location many times and the food is consistent and service is great. This time was no different.
I ordered the Sichuanese boiled fish off their specialties menu. It was a simple dish of fish with Chinese cabbage all boiled in a soup saturated brilliant red by the iconic Sichuan chiles. The fish was nice and relatively light despite soaking in chili oil but overall it was a forgettable dish.
Also on order was the Pepper Chicken. Sichuan style (a.k.a. spicy) fried chicken is something you know can’t go wrong and they definitely do it justice à la popcorn chicken and tossed with those – you guessed it – diabolic Sichuan chiles. Crispy on the outside, moist and tender on the inside with a clean salty and spicy taste that accentuates the flavor of the chicken – fried chicken is one of those things that translates very well no matter what where you come from. I don’t even remember if Winny and Quang liked it, ‘cause in my head I ate all of it.
Have you ever eaten an excessive amount of chili based foods? Something that is always armed with a swift spicy kick at the end of every bite? Sichuan food is that for me. We went in a group of four and each of us ordered one item that we’d share family style. I picked the spicy ravioli soup which is really wontons in a spicy chili soup. It arrived in a bowl with the reddest soup I have ever seen. Not red like tomato soup but red like a liquid fire waiting to make you cry. We scooped some wontons into smaller individual bowls and it was delicious. One thing to note, this soup is so chili based that if you breathe in while you’re getting ready to eat the soup, be prepared to hack up a lung. The wontons have a great consistency and not too overcooked or delicate. The soup feels like you’re eating liquid chili paste but it’s totally worth it if you like spicy foods.
This is one of my favorite places for Sichuanese food. Every time I come here, I order the Spicy Beef Chow Mein and am able to eat the whole plate of noodles by myself. It is really not as spicy as its name implies but is really good because it’s a simple mix of hard-not-to-love ingredients like noodles, crushed chili seeds and beef. They give plenty of noodles but there could more beef added to the dish. Overall, I have no complaints besides that. Great food and a great place to eat with friends and family for a Sunday dinner.
NEXT EPISODE: A NEW WORLD ORDER OF DUMPLINGS!
The Mission Statement…
17:00 hours: I closed my laptop and headed out the cafe’s swinging door. I was excited about this one. I flicked my eyes down at my watch as my wrist rose in mid-stride. A half second later, my mind processed the thought, “Damn, I’m late…again.”
Strides quickening, I lunged at the car door and shoved my laptop case into the passenger seat nearly ripping the leftover morning coffee out of the cup holder. My phone chimed in time with the start of the ignition.
“I’m here,” read Q’s message; always punctual.
Consistently Q’s opposite, I rushed from Capitol Hill to Wallingford to pick up Ms. Winchaoster.
She was already outside with an ever-so slightly disapproving and knowing gaze. I didn’t even bother trying to grin it off for fear of a snarky chiding. We made a quick drive over to University District where Q paced below the stairs up to the corner restaurant called Cedars.
We made our way inside where despite the openness (ever so slightly reminiscent of a british colonial tropical home), the heat of summer rolled in slow palpable waves. Short discussion, quick orders and a brief wait before our mission began.
There’s something romantic about Indian cuisine. The intoxicating scents of a complex blend of spices, the rich and creaminess of gravy-like curries and the warm crisp yet fluffy pillows of naan. I am extremely turned on by the sultriness that is Indian food.
If you’re going to know anything about me, it’s that I adore lamb and duck and the cultures that elevate those meats through their dishes. So I knew what I was about getting the madras with lamb. Madras is my favorite style of curry and one of three standards by which I judge an Indian restaurant’s worth. Naan and Tikka Masala being the other two standards.
As it was my first time at Cedars, I was keen on testing its mettle. The lamb madras was great and with the amount of rice in combination to how rich and heavy Indian food can be, I was full enough to pack my leftovers for a perfect brunch the next day. What really shined for me though as usual at a great Indian place was the fresh naan. Big, fluffy, steaming pieces of bubbly naan. Such an incredible medium for soaking and scooping curry – this is where business and pleasure cross-over in this mission.
I have actually been going to Cedars for the last six or seven years. This is my go to Indian restaurant in Seattle and anytime I eat Indian food anywhere else, I compare it to Cedars. I was so happy when the boys wanted to finally go here and try it out. As per usual, I got the paneer tikka masala with spiciness set to level three. This is a tomato cream based sauce with something that is equivalent to Indian cheese. Some people mistake paneer for tofu, but it’s so much better. The insanely red tikka masala showed up with a giant plate of jasmine rice and it was game over at that point. I have yet to be disappointed with the paneer tikka masala at Cedars. It’s always been consistent and they have mastered the perfect blend of spices and flavor.
The best part is that the portions are very decent so usually I can get two meals out of one meal. One thing that I measure most food on is if it’s good the second day whenever I have leftovers. Cedars passes that test and it’s great for lunch the next day. Along with my meal, I had a mango lemonade. It was really just mango juice that was a bit sweet. I can’t say that it was my favorite beverage but it definitely didn’t impact how happy I was with my meal. I think everyone needs to go to Cedars. Just not that during this time that Seattle is super hot, Cedars does not have A/C but it’s totally worth the heat!
I have been to Cedars before and was confused by the menu when it offered Indian and Mediterranean food on the menu but at least they clarify what dishes belonged to which category. It was a very hot day and it felt like all the windows were open to let the heat in rather than out. We ordered one garlic naan to start and please only order one unless you want to be full from bread. The naan barely fit the plate it was delivered on and it was finished just as quickly as we all agreed on ordering it. With the right amount of melted butter visible you could tell it was made fresh.
I ordered the chicken tandoori. Usually I get a curry item whenever I go to an Indian restaurant but I wanted to try something new. The chicken was cooked to perfection. It was not dry but it did lack a little bit in flavor so unfortunately, I wasn’t completely content with my dish like the rest of my eating buddies were. Oh well, lesson learned. If you are looking for a kick of flavor stick with curry and order tandoori if you are going to share it as an ala carte type item.
NEXT EPISODE: A SPICY SICHUATION