Full House Cafe is a Chinese-themed restaurant on Bowery Street in the hearSteamed Juicy Dumplingst of Chinatown, combining Hong Kong Dim Sum and Shanghai cuisine in a modern atmosphere. The 50-seat restaurant features cozy white booths and high ceilings, giving a comfy feeling of spaciousness that I’m not used to in Chinatown.

I learned the kitchen is manned by two chefs: the head dim sum chef  Mei Kun Chen (from the five-star Guangzhou Garden Hotel, China) and head Shanghai chef Jun Qian (from the five-star Pudong Shangri La Hotel, China). The most difficult problem is deciding what to order from the endless selection. Luckily, as their guest, owner Don Lee assisted us with that and even explained how (and when) to eat their steamed, juicy meat-filled soup dumplings ($4.50 pork t0 6.25 crab-pork) also known as Shanghai dumplings.

fish in bean curdSix stuffed-dough dumplings come steamed in a bamboo basket. These must be eaten first while they’re hot and juicy — and before the liquid (soup) is absorbed. Don’t just bite into one, or you’ll end up with a scalded tongue. Instead pick up the dumpling by the twisted dough top with your chopsticks and hold it over the Chinese soup spoon  while you lift both to your mouth. Just take a small bite of the dumpling and let the broth Dong Po Porkflow out into the spoon. Then enjoy the dumpling and drink the soup. (Google actually lists over 21,000 videos demonstrating this!)

After honing our dumpling eating skills, we dove into all the other goodies that Don recommended including honey braised meaty pork ribs with baby bok choy ($14.95), fried fish fillet wrapped in bean curd skin ($14.95), three pan-fried dumplings with a sweet dipping sauce ($3) and dong po pork — pork belly — on sauteed greens ( $13.95). The latter comes accompanied by steamed buns. Putting the two together is reminiscent of char siu bao – the steamed buns filled with barbecued pork.

– bonnie

Full House Cafe
97 Bowery
(between Hester St & Grand St)
New York, NY 10002
(212) 925-8083
www.fullhousecafenyc.com

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