Dough Zone Dumpling House
There are more than a few restaurants in Seattle that serve a wide variety of dumplings, and Dough Zone is our favorite by a hair. After a majority of their locations were operating only on the Eastside for while, we can now enjoy their dough-wrapped gifts in the International District. And a lot of other places, too—they’ve since expanded to eight locations across Washington, with two in California as well.
They run a speedy operation, and the large windows make people-watching a breeze. A meal at Dough Zone is especially excellent after a blustery morning walking around the International District, because nothing warms us up much better than steamy sesame dan dan noodles, pork q-bao, chicken wontons in hot and sour broth, and potstickers with a brittle cornstarch skirt. We even love the plain broccoli dunked in seafood sauce.
If you’re impressing out-of-towners or just feel like popping a dozen xiao long bao in your mouth like you’re playing a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos, Dough Zone will always be waiting for you.
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Sweet & Sour Cucumber
This appetizer is exactly what it sounds like, served in a coil that looks like a snake just before it pounces. It’s a light and crunchy way to start things off, but we prefer the spicier versions you can find elsewhere in town.
Broccoli With Seafood Sauce
Literally just steamed florets with a savory brown sauce for dipping. This is a satisfying way to get those five to nine USDA-recommended servings of vegetables in. Wait, nine? Better get two orders.
Dan Dan Noodle
You’re here primarily for dumplings, but be sure this hits the table, too. The dan dan noodles have this perfect chew that clings to a slightly-oily, creamy sesame sauce pooled at the bottom of the bowl (you need to stir it yourself). There’s also a tingly kick from Sichuan peppercorns that ties it all together.
Berkshire-Duroc Pork Soup Dumplings
Pure comfort enrobed in a dumpling wrapper. The pork xiao long bao have an ideal ratio of ground meat to broth, and taste perfectly seasoned even if you don’t swirl them in your DIY soy sauce/black vinegar/chili oil dip.
Anytime we eat this pan-fried bun of pork and sorcery, our late-night thoughts are occupied by the memory of it, instead of the usual existential dread. There’s a certain magic that happens when the interior walls of the bun get seeped with drippings, and it’s such a phenomenal overload of flavor and texture that we’d be content on extracting the balls of meat just to snack on the pork-soaked bread.