Yen Fung Ding
After some failed starts due to hours that don’t run very late, (including one which led us to tasty neighbour Roku Bar) my wife and I made a successful visit to dumpling house Yen Fung Ding.
Located on the eastern edge of Chinatown where the Chinese/East Asian businesses start to dwindle, tiny Yen Fun Ding sits back a bit from the hustle and bustle of Somerset Street. We arrived on a rainy afternoon, just after the prime lunch hours.
The friendly owner/cook showed us the options for both eat-in and take-home frozen dumplings and dim sum. Pork and chive are always a good baseline for dumplings (15 for $10.99), and we tacked on an order of the Shanghai buns (8 for $10.99) at the owner’s suggestion. The frozen bags of house-made dumplings are a steal at $3.99 each or three for $10; for our three we got the pork and water chestnut, chicken and vegetable, and some more pork and chive to cook at home.
It was a little bit of a wait while our dumplings got steamed and fried, but we were all the more appreciative when the delicious dumplings arrived.
The Shanghai buns were somewhere between a traditional potsticker and steamed bun, both in size and the thickness of their leavened dough wrappers. Said wrappers had a pleasantly doughy chew, and their added heft was able to contain the very juicy pork filling. I also really enjoy the textural contrast between their crisp bottoms and the un-fried top portion.
The pork and chive dumplings may not have had the prettiest pleated edges, but they were quite tasty! The filling was much more chive-heavy than most of their peers, being quite green, rather than just having a fleck of chives here and there. It looked nice, and the flavour worked. The dumplings had wonderfully crispy bits, although the wrappers didn’t always hold together well, as I lost a couple blobs of filling after my first bite.
After settling up and grabbing our frozen dumplings from the freezer, we thanked our fantastic host for the meal, and began to look forward to the next time we weren’t feeling like making dinner, but had those bags of dumplings close at hand.
PS. Since this visit, we’ve devoured the take-home dumplings and restocked. The dumplings are a bit prone to breaking apart in the cooking-from-frozen process, but are still delicious!