| Menus |

Pan-Fried Dumplings at San Dong Noodle House

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Much like our American hamburger, pan-fried dumplings are simple fast food in China. Easy to find, easy to make, cheap to eat, filling and tasty. Here in Houston, you can get pan-fried dumplings at any number of restaurants, but for no-frills, down-home-honest-to-goodness-cheap ones, there is no better place than San Dong Noodle House. Whenever I get a craving for dumplings, I head there.

It's been several years since I first tried San Dong, and little has changed since I first entered its doors, except for the fact that the Chinese woman who stands at the counter seems happier now. She greets me with a smile and refers to me as "Lady," and her movements don't seem as labored and begrudging as they did in the past.

Maybe it's because people are actually tipping her these days. Nowadays, a large jar labeled "tips" sits conspicuously on the counter with some money in it. But since the restaurant is basically self-serve - you order at the counter, then get your own utensils, napkins, water, etc., before sitting down and waiting for your food to arrive - people traditionally don't tip. In fact, on one of my previous visits, when I tried to leave a tip at the table, a Chinese woman sitting across from me looked at me disapprovingly and insisted, "You really don't have to leave a tip."

Everything on the menu runs in the $5 range, including my favorite - the pan-fried pork and cabbage dumplings.

Many restaurants only serve eight per portion, but San Dong gives you a whopping 12 dumplings for $5.25. Long and slim, pan-fried until lightly golden on the bottom, the dumplings are very good every time. It's the dumpling wrapper that makes the dumpling, and here, it's not too thick or thin, and obviously freshly made. The filling is ample and well-seasoned without being overly salty.

They don't serve the dumplings with a sauce, but you can make your own with the condiments at the table. I mix some soy sauce, hot chili oil, and rice vinegar to get a slightly tangy dipping sauce.

There are other notable items on the menu, like the fried pork chop rice plate, and the beef brisket noodle soup. They also have a to-go area of steamed pork-filled bao (buns). Not surprisingly, this is one of those cash-only places, but the great thing about San Dong is that a $10 bill is enough to get you a solid meal with some change left over.

Follow Eating Our Words on Facebook and on Twitter @EatingOurWords

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.