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Dumplings N More Has Mastered the Art of Soup Dumplings

Forget the language problem — the food speaks for itself.

Dumplings N More Has Mastered the Art of Soup Dumplings
Troy Fields
At Dumplings N More, sink your teeth into some meaty soup dumplings, but beware: They're juicy! Go behind the scenes of this week's reviewed restaurant in our slideshow, "Dumplings N More: A Closer Look."

There's a magical moment when you lift the lid off a basket of dumplings. The steam rises and rushes out in one big gust, and the spirals of vapor briefly obstruct your view of the perfect little purses inside. As the steam dissipates, the dumplings come into view, but even before you can clearly see them, you can smell them. The scent of pork and lemongrass invades your nostrils, and your mouth begins to water, though you have yet to fully lay eyes on the soft, doughy parcels within the basket.

You end up full and happy, with soup running down your chin.

It's just as well you can't immediately see the dumplings, though, for at Dumplings N More, there's no guarantee you'll get exactly what you ordered. There will be dumplings, sure, but what variety will wind up on your table is something of a mystery. A waitress will bring them to you, hurriedly yell something in a foreign language to the cooks back in the kitchen, then leave the basket of dumplings sitting there, while you and your companions glance around uneasily.

At least, that's what happened to my friends and me when an unmarked basket of dumplings was left unceremoniously on the table with only a curt explanation of what we had just received. A curt explanation in Cantonese, no less. For a brief while, we stared at the worn bamboo vessel, unsure of what to do next.

The interior is more practical than charming.
Troy Fields
The interior is more practical than charming.
You wouldn't know it from the modest exterior in a Sugar Land strip center, but Dumplings N More has mastered the art of soup dumplings.
Troy Fields
You wouldn't know it from the modest exterior in a Sugar Land strip center, but Dumplings N More has mastered the art of soup dumplings.

Location Info

Map

Dumplings N More

3149 Highway 6 South
Sugar Land, TX 77478

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Outside Houston

Details

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Cheese crab puff: $4.95
Mapo tofu: $7.99
Crisp dumpling snowflake pancake: $8.99
Seafood fried udon: $10.95
Salt toasted shrimp: $13.95
Pan-fried beef dumplings: $8.45
Mushroom dumplings: $6.99
Pork soup dumplings: $7.99



Go behind the scenes of this week's reviewed restaurant in our slideshow, "Dumplings N More: A Closer Look."


Once the lid was removed and the vapor had evanesced into the atmosphere of the restaurant, we were immediately more at ease. These looked like what we wanted to eat. These looked very good. The question was no longer "What did we order?" but now "How do we eat these?"

Soup dumplings, or xiao long bao, are so named because they are filled with a combination of ground pork and pork aspic. During steaming, the aspic melts into broth, filling the dumplings with what is essentially soup. If you pinch them too hard with chopsticks, the skin will rupture, and the savory juice will spill out. Too soft, and the dumpling will stick to the basket. Too soon, and you might burn yourself, but not soon enough, and the perfectly pinched and twisted skin will become cold and clammy.

Just as there's an art to eating soup dumplings, there's an art to making them. And Dumplings N More, for all its charming communication breakdowns, seems to have mastered it.
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Go behind the scenes of this week's reviewed restaurant in our slideshow, "Dumplings N More: A Closer Look."

When Dumplings N More opened in late November of 2013, residents of Sugar Land were pleased that they'd no longer have to drive to Bellaire Boulevard to satisfy dumpling cravings. Now, five months later, the people visiting the small Chinese restaurant appear to still be the citizens of Sugar Land, some of whom mentioned that they visit Dumplings N More regularly because it's so convenient. Those of us who live within the confines of the 610 Loop are not likely to make it all the way to Sugar Land when a dumpling craving strikes. After all, Chinatown is on the way to Sugar Land — at least for me. And while the soup dumplings at the family-run joint are nearly perfect, so are the ones at any number of hole-in-the-wall spots in Chinatown.

Still, where Dumplings N More differs from other dumpling purveyors is in the scope of the menu. The "N More" part is particularly developed, offering everything from Americanized Chinese dishes like orange chicken to spicy Sichuan favorites like mapo tofu to Korean-style kimchi hot pots. The lengthy menu feels almost too inclusive, and I found myself wishing my options were more limited to dumplings and a few select Chinese dishes, which would save me the trouble of wading through pages and pages of beef and broccoli platters and udon noodles.

What I tried beyond dumplings was good, though, especially the salt-toasted shrimp, lightly covered in a crisp coating of salt and panko bread crumbs, then "toasted" in a skillet until the crust achieved a light golden-brown hue. The tiny shrimp (these are not our Gulf prawns) were topped with dried chiles, chopped green onions and a bit of chile paste, which added heat to the already flavorful crustaceans.

Udon noodles with seafood impressed my dining companions and me with a strong ginger and soy sauce flavor that didn't overwhelm the more delicate squid and shrimp. Where many stir-fried dishes lose me is in the overabundance of residual oil coating the noodles, but the udon stir-fry here isn't overly greasy. There's just the right amount of savory cooking oil to skirt the line between guilty pleasure Americanized Chinese food and more authentic cuisine.

"Cheese crab puffs" also made me nostalgic for Americanized Chinese, for the crab rangoons scooped out of mall food-court chafing dishes and consumed hurriedly between department stores. Fortunately, they, too, lacked the grease and MSG that always made me regret my impulsive lunch choice at the mall. These versions are crunchy and dry on the outside, and filled with real crab meat, as opposed to the overly fishy imitation stuff that so often finds its way into cheap crab rangoons.

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9 comments
Claudio Lerma
Claudio Lerma

You had asked about soup dumplings, Denise Castillo Rath.

FRL713
FRL713

No mention of the condiment options?  I'll put in a plug here for Dumpling King (Westheimer location).  Their ginger/jalapeno condiments are part of what make that place so awesome.  Order some dumplings to go and avoid the rest of the menu items.  Then mix up the ginger/peppers with a little soy sauce and go to town!

vonReisendorf
vonReisendorf

Yum, I'd eat there! (If I lived in Sugar Land)

del.martinis
del.martinis topcommenter

@FRL713  Sorry, but Dumpling King, of which we live across the street from, has to have some of the worst dumplings we've ever had. Try Fu Fu Cafe for some of the best in all of Houston!

FRL713
FRL713

@del.martinis @FRL713  Yep, Fu Fu dumplings are great (and cheap).  However, that's quite the hike out to Bellaire and BW8, one that's even worse now with all the construction on Bellaire blvd.  I'm referring to the Galleria location of Dumpling King.  If you have other recommendations in the area, I'd be willing to give them a shot.

ericyounglu
ericyounglu

@del.martinis @FRL713  


Try E-Tao in the Galleria for some decent dumplings. (Expensive but whatever).


For Sugar Land, Old Place Cafe is owned by the same people that own Xiong's Cafe. 


I've been to Dumplings and More and it's not that good. This is someone who has been to Shanghai and Taiwan and have eaten the best of the best.

 
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