Dumplings are the bomb and no one can tell me otherwise. They’re the perfect snack, breakfast, lunch, or dinner – basically, dumplings can be anything you want because they’re so good, and YYC’s new Dumpling Lab is proving it.
Chris and I went here a couple weeks ago on Canada Day to both celebrate Canada Day and run away from the stormy weather. Inside, it’s a minimalistic, casual restaurant, with the kitchen open for everyone to see. There’s also a large freezer near the till, so if you’ve eaten your fill of dumplings but still want more, you can buy a huge pack of frozen dumplings for a late night snack.
We ordered mostly traditional dumplings, and one modern dumpling (the menu they provide give you an idea of what’s considered more traditional and what’s more contemporary). For the traditional dumplings, we ordered:
- Steamed Pork, Cabbage, and Shrimp
- Boiled Pork, Shrimp, Garlic Chive
- Pork, Cabbage, Shiitake Potstickers
Evidently, Chris and I prefer pork dumplings. I’ve always found pork to retain the juices better, whereas beef can dry out quickly when cooked. By far, the steamed dumplings were my favourite. Super soft, juicy, and and not at all greasy or oily, the dough on the steamed dumplings were the perfect chewy texture for me.
Chris preferred the boiled dumplings, and though the boiled and steamed dumplings were a bit different in flavour, they were similar enough in overall flavour and texture that we had a hard time choosing which one was best.
The potstickers were good, but I’ve had better in other Chinese restaurants. I found them too oily, and not fried long enough to have that satisfying crunch. If Dumpling Lab fried them with less oil and more time, I’m sure they’ll have a damn good potsticker to bring home.
The last dumpling we ordered was the red Canada Day one you see in the pictures. A RED dumpling??
So, the red colour actually didn’t add anything to the dumpling other than creating an instagrammable plate. In this colourful, creative dumpling, Dumpling Lab included beef and maple syrup to celebrate Canada 150 (happy belated birthday, Canada!!!). In retrospect, maybe I should have written this blog post earlier, but dumplings are good any day, every day.
This red dumpling was a Canada Day special, and because it was, I really wanted to love it. Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, beef dumplings can get very dry, and that’s what happened here. The dumpling was a bit tough to eat, and while I appreciate the maple, I much more prefer the traditional flavours of pork, shrimp, cabbage, or garlic.
All in all, Dumpling Lab is a must-try in Chinatown. It’s perfectly situated on Centre Street (near Sweet Tooth so you can grab dessert, too), and their dumplings are definitely unique. If. you have a craving for traditional dumplings, or want something a little out of the box, check out Dumpling Lab – they even have turkey basters for dipping sauces (like huge pipettes. Get it? It’s a lab)!
10 – 303 Centre Street S