South Side Dumpling Destination

There's a new restaurant on Binghamton's South Side. It isn't fancy, it hasn't advertised, its Instagram feed has no posts, and only three people are working the weekend day shift. But on Saturday at 1 p.m., every table but one was full. I haven't tried enough of the menu at Beijing Dumplings yet to give it a full review, but I'm going to go ahead and recommend it based on my visit this weekend, which was promising indeed.

The storefront is tucked into an old house on Vestal Ave, and you'll order at the counter, then grab a table. Hot tea is free. The menu is in Chinese and English, and in addition to house made dumplings, there are noodle dishes and entrees.

I started with the fried pork buns - a mixture of ground pork and scallions stuffed inside fluffy white dough, steamed, and then pan fried on the bottom to make them crisp. They're served with a soy sauce and black vinegar mix which cuts through the fattiness and adds great flavor. The buns are fluffy and savory, though the pork inside isn't seasoned strongly - really delicious.

I also enjoyed an order of Beijing dumplings, 15 to an order for only $9. These were very bland, but completely awoken by the soy sauce - I will ask for chile oil next time and see if they can accommodate. That said, they were tender and homemade, with the same pork and scallion filling. With some chile oil, they would have been dynamite.

I want to go back and try the stewed beef noodle, which I saw being taken down at the table next to mine, as well as the garlic broccoli, and the egg and scallion cakes not on the menu board but noted on the paper menus at the counter. I'm hoping they add even more authentic Chinese street food as the menu board promises, because I am totally down for more of this food, which is a scarcity in our area. And if the owners are reading this, let me put in a request now for a cheung fun (rolled, steamed rice noodles with garlic and hot chiles)!

Big Hungry Shelby: always hungry; never thirsty.


Fantasy Dishes

Sometimes I peruse a menu before eating out, and wish there was a dish on it that's not on it. Anyone else? My dream dishes are always in keeping with the culinary viewpoint or style of the restaurant, but I often find myself wishing a place I'm planning to go had more pork dishes on offer, or a really wonderful duck entrée with crispy skin, or a dessert with a little bit of salt to offset the sweet.

I thought it would be fun to pose some of these to my favorite restaurants around Upstate New York, because maybe my chef friends need some inspiration! Plus, it's just fun to fantasize about food. Comment below with the dishes you wish your favorite restaurant served!

MJ's Bar and Restaurant - Owego

Fried chicken sandwich on a buttered, toasted Kaiser roll with sweet pickle chips and Cajun cream sauce. The Cajun cream sauce they make at MJ's is utterly fabulous - potently spicy and unctuous, and it would crown a fried chicken sandwich, which is a difficult menu find in these parts, like a total boss.

Gram's Diner - Adams

Tourtiere - which is a Montreal specialty - a double crusted savory pie filled with ground pork, onions, and spices. Served with buttery mashes potatoes, a pork jus, and green beans with toasted almonds and lemon zest.

China Garden - Endicott

I go to this place for lunch all the time. It's right across from my office. I am positive they do not read my blog, but it is very important to me that they begin to make a cheung fun, which is a dim sum dish of steamed rice noodles rolled and served with hot chile oil and scallions. I need this in my life on the regular. Honestly, soup dumplings and scallion pancakes would also be welcome.

Ryan's Lookout - Henderson

Ryan's makes baller shrimp. They're always super sweet and just crisp, because they toss them in rice flour before frying. So I wish they would bring me a big, fat pile of fried shrimp scampi in a skillet of sizzling garlicky, winey, butter, with slabs of toasted Italian bread to slop up all the lemony, buttery sauce once I've scarfed down all the shrimp.

Food and Fire BBQ Taphouse - Johnson City

Well, what do you know? They already make my fantasy dish: BHS's briskett poutine. And it is an awesome mouthful to behold.

Social on State - Binghamton

I love tapas, but when I'm sitting down for a small plates meal, I also want to go old school and have the Spanish tapas classic: pan con tomate. This is just fresh, raw tomato rubbed on crusty, toasted bread, then covered with either paper thin slices of jamon Iberico or Manchego cheese. Simple, but glorious.

Dell'Arco Ristorante - Endicott

I am dying for this place, which serves awesome pizza, arachini, and carbonara, to do a lunchtime porchetta sandwich with salsa verde on it. Pork belly wrapped around pork loin, seasoned with an herbaceous gremolata between the layers, roasted in a scorching hot oven, and served with a refreshing herb, oil, garlic, and lemon pesto on ciabtta? Yessssssssss please.