I’ve been speaking with one of the owners behind UNITED DUMPLINGS and doing some taste-testing over the past few months, and am happy to say they are opening this week: Wednesday October 14th! Can you even imagine the headaches of opening a first-time restaurant in this pandemic? This project is from Sandy Zheng, the owner of Beijing Restaurant for the past 13 years, who is partnering with Julia Zhu Olson, who was a regular customer of Beijing and has talked about opening a restaurant for over seven years (she was a research scientist at UCSF, and of late has been working in e-commerce).
Julia’s family is from a rural city in China’s Shandong province, and has a deep, abiding love for dumplings. She says they are primarily for special occasions in Northern China, and loves it when the family gets together to make them, noting an auntie may be known for her fillings, while an uncle makes a good wrapper. She says, “Time serving dumplings are the happiest time.” (I think eating them is my happiest time.) She previously had a cart with her mother, operating with a farmers’ market permit, but now she’s opening this brick-and-mortar location with a seasoned operator and chef.
The extensive menu will include some classic dumplings (exquisitely made xiao long bao, and juicy sheng jian bao!), plus a couple of grandma’s recipes, and some fusion/freestyle dumplings, like the Mission potstickers with chicken, sweet corn, and mozzarella cheese, and Korean BBQ beef bulgogi dumplings. Take a look at the initial draft menu here. You’ll also find a bunch of small plates, like sweet-and-sour pickled cucumber to crunchy shrimp toast, plus Mongolian cumin lamb and hand-pulled noodles (as well as their Mission noodles with guacamole, order them cold, they’re perfect for this warm weather). There will also be a menu of frozen dumplings you can take home to boil (noodle kits are in the works as well). They are also proud of their unique drinks, from passionfruit to mango mimosas, and will be offering wine in a can and more.
They will start with serving at five outdoor tables in a parklet (built by Sandy’s father!), and offering limited pickups, then adding on delivery apps later on. Hours are Wed-Mon 11am-3pm and 5pm-9pm. 525 Cortland Ave. at Moultrie.
Over in the Castro, I noticed on Insta that TANGLAD has opened in the former Slurp, offering a Vietnamese menu, with some pho, banh mi, and rice plates (even though the name is Tagalog for “lemongrass”—it’s run by a Filipino-Chinese family). You can read some additional details in this Hoodline piece (which includes some other Castro updates, including a new tenant in Amasia Hide’s Sushi Bar, and Double Rainbow returns!). 469 Castro St. at Market.
The Mission chicken dumplings (with little crispy bits of cheese). Photo: © tablehopper.com.