216 Cypress Ave
South San Francisco, CA 94080
Dumpling Empire is definitely one of those hidden gems on Grand Ave in Downtown South San Francisco. From their name, you know they specialize in dumplings but they also serve many types of fresh noodle dishes and other Chinese appetizers. I first came here when it opened about a year ago and have been coming back frequently ever since. In the beginning, it did not have a lot of business and I was afraid it might close down. But soon after their grand opening, they began to gain a fan base. Now it’s pretty full during peak lunch and dinner hours. Which I am so happy for!
The owners are very nice, especially the male host. He is almost always there, taking orders and serving your food. The place is quite small and has a “old school” kind of look to it. Wooden tables and old seats with bare walls and floors. But that should not stop you from coming here. Their food is delicious!
When I come here, I always order a noodle soup and two dumpling dishes. The prices are pretty fair too. The picture above is their Spicy Sliced Beef Noodle Soup. It consists of fresh noodles, sliced beef and vegetables in a spicy delicious beef broth. The broth is very flavorful that has hint of all types of spices in it. The noodles were cooked just right. Firm to the bite but not undercooked. The beef they serve with the noodle soup was tender and soft. If you come here, I would suggest getting this or the Beef and Tendon Noodle Soup. Both taste great!
This time around I also order the Pork and Chive Dumplings and Shanghainese Dumplings. Their dumplings are so good! They serve it with a side of vinegar and hot sauce to dip your dumplings in. The hot sauce they have is homemade and it is like crack! I even asked the waiter if I could purchase some. He told me it’s not for sale and that it is the chef’s special hot sauce. The skin on the dumplings were a little thicker than I liked but that is the only thing I can complain about here, that’s me nitpicking too. The meat inside the dumplings were delicious. If you never eaten a Shanghainese Dumpling, you must try it! They are sometimes called soup dumplings because of the soup they have inside from the steaming process. Just make sure you pick them up properly so the skin does not break therefore making the soup leak out. I usually put it on a spoon, pour some vinegar over it (along with their hot sauce) and then eat the whole thing. Be careful though, it could be very hot and might burn your tongue because of all the steam. So make sure you let it cool down before eating.
I would give this place a solid 9/10. I also like it because it’s a mom and pop kinda restaurant with very nice people serving you. The waiter caters to all your needs and always asks if everything is good. Make sure you try their hot sauce. It’s a must! Add it to your noodle soup and dumplings and you will thank me. This has become my go-to dumpling restaurant and I’m sure you will enjoy this restaurant as much as I do.