Dirt Cheap Eats 2009: China Bistro

The Chinese characters on the sign outside this hole in the wall translate as “mama’s dumplings.” Dumplings aren’t the entirety of the menu, but they’re often what’s most rewarding.

We’re partial to two versions, one with beef and celery ($7.50 a dozen) and another with shrimp and chive ($8.25 a dozen). Ask a waitress for some black vinegar and red chili oil if they’re not on the table; good as the handmade, steamed-to-order dumplings are, they’re even better after a quick dip in both sauces. The other can’t-miss is a mound of cold noodles topped with a spicy peanut sauce and chopped green onion ($5.75).

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.