Monday, September 27, 2010

Fu Fu Cafe


Fu Fu Cafe
9889 Bellaire
Houston, TX

10 AM to 2 AM Seven days a week $1 to $10

Last year for my birthday trip to Houston I searched for a restaurant that served a lot of dumpling dishes. I was especially looking for soup dumplings. This establishment came up and based on the reviews of it by two Houston papers it fit the bill. Not the easiest place to find. It resides in a unit of a large shopping center devoted to all things Chinese. It is really just a hole in the wall with limited seating but a huge menu of authentic Chinese cooking at amazing prices. The dumplings were mainly at the beginning of the menu. I could have eaten there for a week day and night and barely scratched the surface

I started off with Spicy Szechuan Noodle. Not a dumpling but Robb Walsh (one of the reviewers) recommended it. It is just plain noodles with a Szechuan pepper sauce. Not a true pepper and supposedly possessing strange properties. I found it well within my tolerances with a truly unique taste. It did numb my mouth a bit but the narcotic effects that make it infamous never kicked in.

I started the dumpling feast with a pan Fried Pork Dumpling. This was essentially pot sticker but of a shape I have never seen. Long and narrow and containing a pork mixture tasting like no other I have ever had. The chewy dough and excellent pork flavor made for a good experience for me

On to a steamed dumpling encasing ground pork and preserved cabbage. I love both and they proved delightful. Again since this is northern Chinese dumplings the dough is thicker and has a nice chew to it. These little bundles of joy delighted me no end with their slightly anise flavor.

Finally the Steam Pork Buns came. These were the soup dumplings that I had come here for. Why they call them what they do is a mystery. These rather large dumplings hold a pork meatball and liquid soup within them. Safety is the key here. If you pop them in your mouth the second they hit the table and you will be inhaling scalding hot liquid. Some use chopsticks to poke them open to cool. This seems to spill a good bit of the soup on the plate. Again I followed Robb Walsh’s lead and was patient. Just let them cool just a bit. Now eat them whole chewing them up to release the soup. The combination of the soup, pork, and dough achieves perfection. The trick to making them is to use a gelatinized soup in the dumpling that turns liquid when heated.

Being alone I had reached the limit on dumplings. I will have to bring others next time so I can tasty a greater variety. If you desire a true taste of the east head to this venue

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