Words by Johanna Harlow
Dumplings to dream about.
How about a dough-lightful destination mere walking distance from the San Mateo Japanese Garden? Dough Zone dishes out pan-fried, boiled and steamed dumplings to both the connoisseur and the curious. Not only do many of their dishes come served in iconic bamboo baskets, but you’ll also find woven steamer lids playfully decorating the wall. Be sure to sample their q-bao—puffy pan-fried buns filled with Berkshire-Duroc pork. And if you’ve never had the pleasure of encountering soup dumplings, now’s your chance. A tip for beginners: When your dumplings arrive, take a bite from the side, then slurp up the broth within (mosquito-style). If you take a less calculated approach, you might end up with a wet chin. 111 E 4th Avenue, San Mateo. Open daily.
It’s time to mix things up and hop borders. Dedicated to Georgian cuisine—as in that country along the Black Sea where Europe meets Asia—Bevri offers a delightful twist to this bite-sized comfort food. The Georgian dumpling, called khinkali, is much doughier than its Chinese cousin. Meat and spices are folded into what looks like a teeny tiny drawstring bag—before being topped with a single jewel-like pomegranate seed. You’ll also want to accompany this appetizer with khachapuri adjaruli, the beloved dish that rightfully earned its place as Bevri’s logo. It’s the ultimate comfort food with cheese, butter and an egg all cradled in a boat of bread. Trust us, it’ll leave you floating. 325 Main Street, Los Altos and 530 Bryant Street, Palo Alto. Open Tuesday to Sunday.
brochette dumpling and grill
Opening to rave reviews, Redwood City’s newish Brochette Dumpling and Grill delivers Chinese-Japanese fusion in a refreshing space of rattan pendant lights and curved leather dining chairs. With a plethora of options at your fingertips, you might opt for one of their four types of potstickers, har gaw (translucent shrimp dumplings) or siu mai (a surf and turf combo of shrimp and pork). This family-run restaurant also puts the spotlight on skewers—ranging from Japanese Wagyu to veggies to bacon-wrapped quail eggs. While you’re at it, stick around for a refreshing scoop of green tea ice cream. 917 Main Street, Redwood City. Open daily.