You may wonder why we chose Royal China as the venue for a celebratory meal on the first day of the Lunar New Year. Tucked on the corner of Preston and Royal, Royal China’s customers are predominantly non-Asian dining on the ubiquitous American Chinese favorites like orange chicken or beef and broccoli. Even the children’s menu features nuggets and rice. But Royal China surprisingly has some of the most authentic Chinese dishes in Dallas and the answer lies in the hands of Zhang Xue Liang, Royal China’s noodle chef and his crew of dumpling makers.
Chef Zhang spends his day entertaining and feeding happy customers like us with his hand-pulled noodles from the large dumpling bar in the back. His showmanship is impeccable and he genuinely looks like he’s having a great time. He pulls, twists and pulls the dough over and over until long thin strands of noodles magically appears. There’s a video here of Zhang from the Dallas Morning News.
The dumpling chefs are equally skillful, working quickly and handcrafting each dumpling . First a little round of dough is pressed flat, a small dollop of filling (pork, seafood or vegetable) and then the dough is folded and pinch into perfect crescents. Then they are placed in steamer baskets before appearing on our table. Pikelet & Lollo love watching them from the dumpling bar – the best seat in the house.
Pikelet & Lollo’s favorite dumpling is the Xiao Long Bao, small round soupy pork dumplings encased in a thin doughy skin. The trick is to hold the dumpling in a spoon (not chopsticks) and nibble an end to let the delicate broth spill out, filling your spoon. Gently (it’s very hot) sip the soup and then eat the dumpling whole. The accompanying ginger sauce brings a light burst of flavor to the pork and soup. It is the perfect art of yin and yang.
Our order of lamian (hand pulled noodles) arrives. The long noodles represent longevity and are tossed in a light soy sauce with slow braised pork belly, five spice powder, shiitake mushrooms and beansprout. We love the simplicity of the Henan Lu-rou Lamian dish but we usually substitute the noodles for Lanzhou Lamian which is thin and rounded as my kids tend to have trouble swallowing the Henan Lamian which is wide and flat. ( a tip if you have little ones)
While we enjoy other dishes such as Kung Pao chicken, hand pulled noodles and dumplings as exquisite as these are truly special in Dallas.For more information on foods eaten during the Lunar New Year and what they symbolize, click here.Till our next Happy Meal!
Itty Bitty Info:
- Food: Dumplings and hand pulled noodles are the big draw
- Ambience: Upscale
- Service: Gracious and attentive.
- Kid Friendliness:
- Cost: More than your usual Chinese meal in other areas like Plano/Richardson. Dumpling sampler (8 dumplings) for $10 and Henan Lu-rou Lamian $12
- Itty Bitty Foodies Tip: Sit at the dumpling bar for up close view of the action
- Parent Foodies Tip: Watch where you park. Some spots are just for retail only, not restaurant parking
For more information on hours, location and all that good stuff : go to Royal China