Cheap Eats 2012: China Bistro

Cheap Eats 2012

When you arrive for lunch or dinner at this recently remodeled hole in the wall, head toward the bathroom and peek into the kitchen, where Mama—the sign out front translates as Mama’s Dumplings—presides over a brisk, factory-like operation devoted to the art of bundled dough. The refrigerated case abounds in tasty, cold small plates, and a bowl of noodles with sesame oil, garlic sauce, bean sprouts, and chili oil is sublime, but you’re here for the dumplings—lightly bound and delicately filled with such combinations as shrimp and chive or beef and celery, and utterly irresistible.

Also good: Pork-and-string-bean dumplings; pork-and-napa-cabbage dumplings; mango bubble tea.

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 Petworth.