MIAReview

HaoChi

Editor's Note: Haochi is unfortunately no more, although Union Beer Store will still serve food and host pop-ups.

If there is a reliable incubator for local, wildly talented chefs in Miami, it is not the food hall or the ghost kitchen or the latest overpriced food festival. It is the bar.

For years now, Miami breweries and bars (too many to name here) have been the best places to find some of the most delicious things in town. El Bagel and United States Burger Service got their start behind Boxelder. Ted’s Burgers and The Wolf of Tacos are (at the time of this writing) holding it down in front of J. Wakefield. And food pop-ups at bars are not just convenient for people three beers deep—they are badly needed community spaces in a city where restaurant rents have never been higher and more competitive.

Little Havana’s Union Beer Store is just the kind of place we’re talking about. Every single day, the Calle Ocho beer bar hosts food pop-ups, like Panolo and their wonderful pan con bistec, and more. (Check Union’s Instagram page for the latest info on what days to find them).

And from Sunday through Wednesday and Fridays, Union is also home to Haochi, who we swear this review is about even though it’s taken us a staggering 206 words to mention them.

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Haochi is special for a few reasons. First and most importantly, they’re serving some of the best dumplings in Miami, as well as a rotating selection of more Japanese, Korean, and Chinese dishes. But also, after more than a year of operating from Union, Haochi has transcended from the realm of the pop-up. And now—whatever you want to call it—it’s our favorite place for a beer and a big pile of juicy gyoza in Miami.

Like all visits to Union, Haochi is a chill experience. You place your order at the bar along with your beer, and they’ll bring the food over to you when it’s ready. You can sit inside and watch old WWE matches on mute. Or, head to their little patio, a charmingly ragged space populated with the kind of furniture you’d find under the “free stuff” tab on Craigslist. It’s an eating experience that truly feels like breaking into someone’s backyard—perfect for pleasantly surprising a date who’s skeptical as to why you’re bringing them to dinner at a bar.

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Haochi’s menu is tight, with about three dumpling options, a vegetable, and a few noodle dishes. If you have a reasonably hungry eating companion, order all the dumplings. They generally come five per order, and you will not regret filling up on them. Although it’s also smart to save a bit of room for a non-dumpling option, especially Haochi’s perfectly chewy, pork-y, spicy dandan noodles.

And because this is a bar, when you're all finished, you can linger. Walk around, talk to strangers, ask for more beer. You know, the kind of things that might get you kicked out of an actual restaurant. But that's what's great about Haochi and its pop-up cousins at Union and beyond. They're a different genre altogether. And they make eating in Miami a lot more fun.

Food Rundown

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Gyoza

We’ve seen these prepared a few different ways, but they’re generally stuffed with deeply flavorful beef and tallow that practically squirts from the gyoza as you take your first bite. They’re a little spicy and sprinkled with peanuts. We truly can’t think of something we’d rather be eating alongside a cold beer.

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Edamame Dumplings

The edamame in these vegetarian-friendly dumplings has a mashed consistency—almost like a mushy peas situation. It’s a more subdued flavor compared to the other dumplings, but still a highly enjoyable option, especially if you’re about to order a heavier noodle dish.

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Pork Wonton

These plump pork wontons are outstanding, but the best part of the dish is the rich broth. The broth is made with spices and ham hock, and little dots of fat float on the surface like delicious lily pads. You should slurp up every last drop, even if it’s 95 degrees out.

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Dandan Noodles

The dandan noodles are a meal all on their own: a generous heap of chewy noodles, spicy ground pork, peanut sauce, and scallions. It is 100 percent guaranteed to make everyone else at the bar jealous.

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