Since coming to college I have discovered a food that was completely missing from my youth: Dumplings.
A few years back I purchased a bag of frozen dumplings from Trader Joe’s, and fell in love. I cooked them all ways possible: boiled, steamed, pan-fried; each way was a new and delicious experience. And so my search for the best dumplings and unique and interesting fillings began.
Enter Bangkok Joe’s, a modern, thai restaurant with curve and swirl inspired decor. Their menu is extensive, and the most intriguing section, to me, is their dumpling bar.
The dumpling bar features everything: from chicken buns steamed in bamboo containers to potstickers for vegetarians and omnivors alike. They have shu-mai, fried wontons, crispy rolls and thai spring rolls. Barring soup dumplings (the quasi-holy grail of my life thus far, thank you Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations:Shanghai”), they have everything that a dumpling-lover like myself could possibly want.
On my last trip to Bangkok Joe’s, one of my friends and I decided to do the dumpling bar sushi style. We would each order two sets of dumplings for ourselves, and we would split a third order. Just enough to make a meal out of.
We started off with the winter squash potstickers. They were lightly pan fried, and the inside was a nice blend of scallions, winter squash, and a hint of ginger. They harken back to Slavic pierogis, with the consistency of the filling similar to warm mashed potatoes. The flavor is mild, and the slightly spicy dipping sauce that they serve with it is the perfect compliment.
For the main course, I selected, on the servers advice, the chicken and veggie potstickers (front) and, my personal favorite, the crab and veggie crispy wontons (back). The chicken potstickers were very well done, although not as creative as some of the other items in the
dumpling section. The crab and veggie crispy wontons were, as they always are, fantastic. They are one of my things to order from Bangkok Joe’s, either off the dumpling menu or from their regular entrée selection. The wontons are filled with fresh peas, corn, carrots, fried, and then topped with a sriracha aioli and fresh lump crab meat. They are the perfect blend of crispy, creamy, hot, and savory.
The final dish we ordered was off of the dessert menu, a section that I’m less familiar with. My friend and I decided on the fried dough filled with taro paste and topped with taro ice cream and a taro chip. I know that this sounds like a lot of taro, but the nice thing about this veggie is that it easily absorbs the flavors in which it is cooked, and so the sweetness of the honey, cinnamon, and powdered sugar were magnified in the creamy whipped potato-like consistency of the paste. The taro ice cream had a very light flavor, tasted slightly of cinnamon, but was the perfect compliment to the piping hot dough underneath. each square was filled with the paste, and it was almost like eating a dessert ravioli. The taro chip on top was superfluous, and didn’t add or detract from the dish.
Overall, another fantastic meal at Bangkok Joe’s. The service, as usual, was fairly good, and while the food is a little pricy for a college student’s budget, it is not unreasonable to visit once or twice a semester. Status: Recommended.