Growing up, our go-to inexpensive, weekly meal always included a jaunt to the local dumpling house in the Asian part of town. Surprisingly there were a number of delicious dumpling joints we would frequent as children, but it took me quite a while to find a place in Atlanta that could measure up in terms of quality and variety.
Fortunately, it was Atlanta Magazine’s Guide to Buford Highway published in 2007 (I keep a copy in my glove compartment) that steered us to Chef Liu, which I hope will be a tradition for my own family. Lucky for you, this place moved from a free-standing, run-down shack in the middle of the parking lot to an expanded, more traditional, and cleaner dining room that is more amenable to the space required for strollers and high chairs.
We typically venture out on Sunday nights and love to grab a large table with friends to share the juicy, savory stuffed pouches of goodness that I have loved all my life. What’s wonderful about the Chinese dumpling is that it can be an all-encompassing and very filling meal. It is a lot more fun to go in groups so you can try a wide variety. Plus the kids love spinning the Lazy Susan and grabbing what piques their eyes and appetite (just remember to remove the scalding pot of hot tea before letting them proceed—my sister has yet to live down one disastrous incident).
All of the dumplings can be ordered pan-fried or steamed. We usually splurge on one pan-fried variety, typically beef, and then a couple orders of steamed. The chicken and corn is an easy way to introduce your kids to the wonderful world of dumplings. They are delicious with their special sauce of soy, vinegar, and fresh ginger. We also always order steamed vegetable (stuffed with bok choy, mushroom, tofu, egg, and rice noodles). Big A is also a fan of the steamed shrimp, and a battle typically ensues with Daddy for each one’s share. Chef Liu also makes the very traditional Shanghai soup dumplings (aka Shanghai juicy steamed pork buns), that ooze a hot and tasty broth upon first bite. Keep a close eye on the little ones to prevent any burns. We also love to order some of their other stuffed goodies, including pork buns and a delicious hand pie stuffed with leeks, egg, rice noodles, and baby shrimp. Meals are always topped off with a complimentary plate of crisp, ripe watermelon wedges. They are great about bringing extras for the kids. And if they are well-behaved, a melon lollipop might be in store on their way out the door.
Mixed Vegetable Dumplings(12)-$5.95
Chicken & Corn Dumplings(12)-$6.95
Shanghai Juicy Steamed Pork Buns (8)-$6.95
Fresh Shrimp Dumplings (12)-$7.95