Salt Lake County’s Dumpling Destinations
Dumplings occupy a broad definition in the culinary world. A dough ball, boiled, fried or steamed, with or without a filling are the basics. Everything else is subject to regional and personal preference. No matter the cooking method or filling, these delightful dough balls connect cultures, incite warmth and allow for breadth of flavorful creativity. Salt Lake has a surprising array of dumpling options—below are a few local, Asian-style dumpling spots that can likely satisfy any craving from savory to spicy.
1241 E 8600 S, Sandy, UT | Tues.–Sat. 4–9:30 p.m. • Sun. 4–9 p.m. | 801.679.0945 | bhutanhouserestaurant.com
Bhutan House Restaurant in Sandy is the product of immense courage and effort from a family that spent over two decades in a Nepali refugee camp. Bhutan House opened its doors in 2017 as a standout graduate of Spice Kitchen Incubator, an offshoot program of the International Rescue Committee that assists refugees in creating their own food businesses. Their most popular appetizer is the Chili Momo Dumplings ($12.99–$14.99). Momos are a dumpling style native to Tibet that has taken on various forms throughout Nepal, Bhutan and India. Made with a water-and-flour dough, the traditional fillings are yak or water buffalo meat. Most often steamed and occasionally followed by a quick pan fry, momos are generally served with either a tomato-based chutney or sesame-based sauce called achar. Bhutan House opts for a spicier take, dousing their momos in a vibrant, red chili sauce alongside green peppers and onions, though you can choose your spice level from one to eight. For fillings, I went with chicken, but you also have the option of vegetables. I found that most of the flavor came not from the densely packed dumplings but from the sauce itself. The dough was thick and had a pleasant snap on the palate while the chili tingle kept you coming back for more. Their steamed vegetable momos served with achar ($11.95) are an equally flavorful option for those less spice-inclined.
Foodie & Sweetie DMarket
89 D St, Salt Lake City, UT | Wed.–Mon. 11 a.m.–9 p.m. | 385.528.3823 | foodieandsweetie.com
Foodie and Sweetie D Market, located on an unassuming corner in the Avenues, serves a straightforward array of Chinese-style dumplings. Named for its Sichuan province–born owner and self-proclaimed “Foodie,” along with his wife “Sweetie,” the market was opened to satisfy a craving for flavors of home. This spot is the epitome of “hole-in-the-wall,” one you’ll want to keep to yourself once you sample what’s inside. Laidback energy with casual decor and simple table setting keeps the focus wholeheartedly on the food. The clear menu standout is their selection of wonton soups. While they offer a Szechuan Soup as well as a house-made Chili Oil Soup, my palate was a little shy that day, so I opted for their milder Bone Soup Wonton ($13.95). Wontons are made with a simple egg and flour-based dough and commonly boiled. The ones found in soup are smaller, with just a “dab” of filling as opposed to those made for dipping, which hold about a tablespoon. The silken soup with an ample portion of handmade pork wontons pleasantly contrasted with the crisp crunch from the bok choy and made for a filling lunch. If you have the time and appetite, I’d also suggest their five-piece Dim Sum ($10.99) with a Taro Milk Tea to wash it all down ($6.75). Foodie and Sweetie DMarket is a hidden gem and comfort food staple with delicious dumpling options that you’ll want to return to time and again.
Kyoto Japanese Restaurant
1080 E 1300 S, SLC, UT | Mon.–Thurs. 11 a.m.–2 p.m., 5–9:30 p.m. • Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–2 p.m., 5–10 p.m. • Sun. 5–9 p.m. | 801.487.3525 | kyotoslc.com
A venerable establishment stationed on a Sugarhouse intersection, Kyoto Japanese Restaurant [Ed. note: Addison Austin-Lou is a Sushi Chef at Kyoto] has been serving house-made gyoza with the same recipe since its inception in 1984. Opened by Kyoto transplant Sam Tada and his wife Yoshiko, the restaurant brought Japanese comfort food classics to the Salt Lake culinary scene. After selling the business in 2015, Chef Peggi Ince-Whiting, a Utah-born, master sushi chef trained in Tokyo, was brought on to champion the restaurant. Gyoza is an iteration of Chinese jiaozi, though it differs with its use of thinner circular wrappers and heavy garlic seasoning. Kyoto uses beef in lieu of a more common pork filling, as well as Asian cabbage, ginger and green onions. The gyoza are steam-fried, meaning a crispy edge is achieved with oil on the dumpling’s flat side in a cast iron pan, then water is added, and the pan is sealed to steam the interior. A dipping sauce made from ponzu, sesame oil and shichimi is served on the side. Kyoto’s gyoza can be enjoyed as an appetizer with eight pieces ($12) or a meal of 12 pieces with the addition of onion and carrot tempura ($22). These dumplings are a near-perfect bite—savory and succulent with an herbaceous finish. Tang from the sauce balances the fatty beef filling while tiny textural differences from the hand-made pleats keep the palate intrigued. They are addicting, filling and may end up being your go-to on this menu of powerhouse umami-bombs.
3353 South 3353 Decker Lake Dr, West Valley City | Mon.–Wed. 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m., 5– 9p.m • Thurs. 11 a.m.–9 p.m. • Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–10 p.m. | 801.953.0578 | myung-ga.business.site
Myung Ga in West Valley opened in 2001 and is one of the longest standing Korean restaurants in Utah. The original owners retired earlier this year and planned to close the restaurant down before Itto Sushi stepped in and absorbed them into their restaurant group, and the two now share the current location. Korean dumplings, called mandu, share linguistic ancestors with other dumpling styles from along the ancient Silk Road, such as Turkish manti and Afghan mantu. Styles vary across Korea, and as with the other aforementioned dumplings, can be steamed, fried or boiled. Myung Ga offers their signature soft tofu stew, soondubu-jjigae, with various protein or ingredient additions including one with Korean dumplings ($15) This dish is cooked directly in a stone bowl, which then comes to the table still bubbling. You get to choose the level of spice, and receive a few banchan, Korean side dishes, and rice with your meal. This is a complete bowl of comfort. The mandu turn velvety and supple in the soup and absorb flavor from the broth. They are an ample size, with four per serving filled with ground pork, vegetables and glass noodles. A word to the wise, the first bite will leave you craving more but this dish holds heat long after it is served and can scorch the tongue. Pace yourself with cooling nibbles of banchan, as you’ll want to savor each taste and texture. Myung Ga’s newest iteration manages to maintain the flavor and memory of its previous two decades while allowing a new generation to sample its cuisine.