Even though Peking duck might be the first thing you think of when considering Beijing food, you can’t ignore the humble little dumpling. In fact, in many ways, the dumpling is more of a traditional common man’s food than the Peking duck, which was really imperial food until just the last century or so. Because rice was only for the wealthy, most Beijingers subsisted on wheat-based foods, like mantou, shaobing, and our humble little dumpling (jiaozi).
The founder of Xian Lao Man was a descendant of a chef who made dumpligns for empress Dowager cixi who had successfully ruled the Chinese government for 47 years
Xian Lao Man is among the best places for dumplings on a tight budget. This chain of restaurants does good dumplings and meat pies.
It is said back in the old days, rice to be reserved for the rich, especially up in the north, where the poor are more wheat such as noodles and dumplings. Till this day, dumplings remain popular with the rich and poor all around the world.
It’s hard to enjoy everything on the menu especially with just the two of us. Xian Lao Man make all dumplings to order, and thus they will only make a whole steamer’s worth at once (10 dumplings total).
Lionhead Meatballs – I had meaning to try these when I was in Shanghai, but never had the opportuntity to order any to try, seen I was always dining by myself and I had other things in my mind to try. These meatballs are made from fatty pork mince.
The name lionhead derives from the shape of the meatball is supposed to resemble the head of the lion while the lettuce is supposed to resemble the lion’s mane.
when these arrived, I was taken back at the size of these things. It was pretty big, with closer inspection
They were luke warm, but would have appreciated them more if they were hot. They were succulent and tasty, with lots of sauce . I would not say they are the best things on earth, but definitely worth a try.
Pork and Cabbage Dumplings – There is one reason why you would come to Xian Lou Man, and that is for their dumplings. Mr Wasabi wanted a normal flavour which he was use to eating. I was hoping that he would allow me to choose a weird flavour that we would not normally get back home, but he didnt budge so went with the status quo. the dumplings were pretty large compared to others we have had while in China.
As with all dumplings we have had on our trip, these dumplings were juicy and succulent. As you bite into them all the juices ran into our mouths. I could down a few more servings if I was not so full from snacking all day long.
Beef and Onion Meat Pie – I had no idea what to expect from a meat pie, as I have never encountered one before. I was interesting in trying something which I have not had before, so ordered this even though Mr Wasabi objected to it. We were about to leave, as this took a long time to come out. But I did appreciate that these were made to order to guarantee freshness. its appearance is similar to a round murtabak. there are four large meat pies per serving. Much bigger than I had expected.
The pie was seasoned perfectly. The onions had a bood bite to them. I would recommend you eat these with a chopstick as they can get a little messy as the juicies can flow out onto your hands. Mr Wasabi was seating it with his hands and the hot juices ran down his hand, onto his plate. I was eating them with chopsticks as they were fairly hot when they first came out and I managed to keep my hands clean as the chopsticks bore the brunt of the juices.
I would not go out of my way to come here, but if you happened to be walking past, then give this place a try. If the decendant of the founder of this resturant made dumplings for an Empress, it certainly can not be too bad and I certainly enjoyed the meat pie.
Location: 316 Donsi North Street, Dongcheng, Beijing, China