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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Little Saigon Cafe's Dumplings

Posted By on Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 7:40 AM

Pork and cabbage dumplings, $3.95/six - J. KAUFFMAN
  • J. Kauffman
  • Pork and cabbage dumplings, $3.95/six
Thursday, June 24, 2010

There's a certain pleasure in making a date with a once-a-week food stand, to look forward to seeing at the farmers' market or a nearby corner. But sometimes the pleasure of knowing it's always there is greater. A man who has a craving for Shandong-style pork and cabbage dumplings, for example, has come to enjoy the Pavlovian craving that now strikes him when he goes to the main library and realizes that Linda Jiang's dumplings, which she makes at Little Saigon Cafe every day instead of once a week, are just a short walk uphill.

The newly painted and walled cafe.
  • The newly painted and walled cafe.
SFoodie reported a few weeks back that the owners of Happy Dumpling/Yang Rou Chuan stand at the Stonestown farmers' market went in with a friend to open a tiny cafe on Larkin serving Vietnamese soups, sandwiches, homestyle dishes and Jiang's dumplings. Last week, they extremely made over the place, removing the steam tables, walling off the kitchen, and painting the room carmine red and pale celadon. They have also taped a sign in Chinese up on the wall advertising $2 cumin lamb skewers.

Things are shaping up.

The man is a little ashamed to admit that he didn't take the time to look over the new full-color menu, so intent was he on those dumplings. Jiang makes every batch to order, and they take 15 minutes to roll and steam, coming out puffy and glossy with a basting of oil, papery brown crusts on the bottom where they've fried in the pan. They're big and loosely formed, half bun and half pot sticker, plumped out with chopped pork and cabbage. More than enough for lunch. And available every day of the week.

Little Saigon Cafe 670 Larkin (at Ellis), 345-1959.

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Jonathan Kauffman

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