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Davis, California

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The Dumpling House is a dumpling home

Chinese restaurant remains a local favorite despite only coming to Davis once a week throughout the pandemic

The amazing food that comes from The Dumpling House in its different iterations—both as a restaurant and a farmers market stand—is no stranger to The Aggie and UC Davis students alike. While the Davis restaurant has sadly been closed for almost two years now, students and community members have still been able to enjoy delicious goods from the steamed portion of their menu each Wednesday at the Davis Farmers Market in Central Park. Additionally, over the past year, The Dumpling House has opened three new locations throughout Sacramento, all with the extended menu not found at the farmers market. 

After speaking with Linda Liu, the owner and founder of The Dumpling House, it is clear why this establishment has been such a consistent fan favorite. Liu has a love for the craft as well as an incredibly charming and warm personality that is echoed throughout the restaurant staff, making the trek to Sacramento for some dumplings on a non-Wednesday undoubtedly worth it. 

Liu’s love for making and sharing dumplings is not new, as she learned all that she knows from her grandmother. 

“My whole family would sit around our big round table and wrap dumplings,” Liu said. 

Dumplings have always been communal for Liu, and she has extended that sense of community to all of Davis, even without a restaurant in the city.

 “With the farmers market, we still go because of the community and students who might miss us,” Liu said. Thankfully, The Dumpling House will be returning to its original building on E Street right here in Davis early this fall. 

“The entire inside will be brand new, but it’s the same Dumpling House as before,” Liu said. The UC Davis community will surely rejoice—I know I will—when those doors finally reopen, providing new and returning students and customers with a delicious dumpling experience that is only a short walk or bike ride away. 

In the meantime, I would highly recommend getting in your (or your friend’s) car and heading to one of Liu’s three current locations in Sacramento. I had the chance to visit the Midtown location—an adorable neighborhood I had never visited. This location has that perfect hole-in-the-wall look, with a simple interior made up of just the counter and a small seating area off to the side as well as three or four tables outside—the perfect place to sip on a delicious Thai tea while you wait. This location also offers a few dessert options, one being a chocolate bao that I urge everyone to try at least once. This perfect little savory dumpling consists of the classic fluffy bao bun with hot melted chocolate right in the center. Each of the locations have slightly different menus, making it imperative to visit them all and try each one’s unique offerings. 

Before opening the original Dumpling House in Davis over a decade ago, Liu traveled all around Asia and noticed dumplings were consistently popular everywhere she went. She left feeling inspired to come back to California and open a shop. Being the smart businesswoman that she is, Liu has always recognized that her primary customer base consisted of students in Davis, so she has always sold frozen dumplings at a discounted price for those nights you just don’t want to cook but still want some homemade food. Of course, the frozen dumplings are not only offered in Davis, and with the pandemic, this deal has come in handy. 

“People are pretty lazy, and are now getting tired of cooking in the pandemic,” Liu said. 

The Dumpling House and its masterful creations have become an integral part of the Davis downtown experience over the years, and with its official reopening in the fall once campus is up and running again, I predict it will make a return to Best of Davis for 2022. Liu perfectly summed up her career in the restaurant business and time at The Dumpling House: “I’m 72 years young and I still love to cook.” The Dumpling House has won over Davis’ heart. 

Written by: Angie Cummings — arts@theaggie.org


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