It’s easy to miss this ground and basement dumpling emporium on Zhongyang Dajie, but I recommend you don’t. The interior feels remarkably upscale for the reasonable prices, the northern-style dumplings (jiaozi) are to die for — and there’s a bona fide English language menu that actually makes sense.
Dumplings are, naturally, the main event, but there’s a range of Sichuan favourites, including eggplant with minced meat, and some good veggie options — we rate the spicy seaweed salad.
Best yet? At least two of the staff speak English, which is handy, since the English menu doesn’t have a Chinese translation.
Tables come equipped with soy sauce, dumpling vinegar and condiments including minced onion and mustard with which to accompany your dumplings. A choice of 20-odd jiaozi flavours range from the classic — pork and Chinese cabbage, pork and pickled cabbage — through to seafood, mushroom and much, much more.
Every one we’ve tried has had the perfect dumpling pop of smooth, light casing, firm filling and just enough rich juice to fill the mouth without burning it.
Orient King of Dumplings is a great place to discover the joy of jiaozi, or further your acquaintance with them. Even if you do end up in the wedding planners’ next door by accident…
Expect to pay from 15-50 RMB per head.
DōngFāng Jiaǒzi Wáng (东方饺子王)
Address: 51 Zhongyang Dajie, Daoliqu, Harbin
Tel: 0451 8465 3920