Food

A Shop for Soup Dumplings and Cold Beers Is Opening at Union Market

Laoban Dumplings opens with a new menu from chef Tim Ma.

Laoban Dumplings at Union Market. Photograph courtesy of Laoban Dumplings

Union Market’s mini-restaurant stall has been sitting empty since the Thamee/Toli Moli team closed their Burmese bodega to focus on their new H Street restaurant. Now there’s a new occupant: Laoban Dumplings, a Chinese noodle and dumpling shop from owner Patrick Coyne and new culinary director Tim Ma (American Son). The duo revamped the space and will open on Wednesday, March 4. 

Laoban also operates as a fast-casual spot out of Alexandria food incubator Pendleton Carryout as well as at American University.  Like the others, Union Market’s location is counter-service plus seating for about 15 diners. In addition to the core menu of dumplings like ginger-chicken and shiitake-veggie, Ma has created new dishes such as chilled noodles with fermented bean sauce and pork, and snacks like silken tofu. The team will also serve pork soup dumplings on a regular basis.  All can be paired with $5 local and Chinese beers—the team is working on a local collaboration for a Laoban Lager—ciders, and DC Brau spiked seltzer. There’s also a selection from In Pursuit of Tea.

For shoppers, there’s a small market with dumpling swag, homemade sauces, snacks, chips, and DC-based Hollow Works ceramics. 

Laoban isn’t the only new face to look for at the market. There’s been a recent infusion of new chef-driven options like Egyptian/Mediterranean cafe Fava Pot, Annaré, an Italian pastry shop from the Stellina Pizzeria, and two eateries from chef Alex McCoy: a Lucky Buns burger counter and Thai street food shop stall, Som Tam.

Laoban Dumplings. 1309 5th St., NE. Open daily at 11 AM.

*This story has been updated with new information

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Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.