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About this blog: I am a perpetually hungry twenty-something journalist, born and raised in Menlo Park and currently working at the Palo Alto Weekly as education and youth staff writer. I graduated from USC with a major in Spanish and a minor in jo...  (More)

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Palo Alto: Dumpling City replaces Valencia Asian Market

Uploaded: Jul 25, 2017
Valencia Asian Market, a casual Asian fusion eatery that opened on El Camino Real in Palo Alto in 2015, has shuttered and been replaced by a restaurant serving handmade dumplings and dim sum.

The owner of Valencia Asian Market, Zen Bunchien, said he closed on June 30 after struggling to respond to numerous code enforcement complaints filed by Palo Alto Fit, a private personal training company above the restaurant at 3487 El Camino Real. Complaints related to issues like noise and smoke, he said.

Valencia Asian Market owner Zen Bunchien, left, and chef Orlando Perez prepare dishes in 2015. Photo by Michelle Le/Palo Alto Weekly.

Bunchien said he's hoping to reopen in Palo Alto and is "looking for a location every day." Valencia Asian Market, also known as VAM, served fusion tacos, dim sum, milk tea and other Asian dishes.

Valencia Asian Market's replacement, Dumpling City, opened earlier this month. The menu includes a range of traditional dumplings with fillings like pork, chicken, shrimp, lamb and vegetables as well as dishes like five-spice marinated beef and tofu salad. Noodle soups and vegetable dishes are on the menu but not yet available, employee Bo Niu said on Tuesday.

Dumpling City is now open at 3487 El Camino Real in Palo Alto. Photo by Elena Kadvany.

Each order of dumplings comes with 12; they range in price from $5.95 to $9.95. Check out some photos of employees making the dumplings on Yelp.

Customers can also buy frozen dumplings to make at home.

Dumpling City is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Check out a menu selection below:

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 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Poke Lover, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jul 25, 2017 at 11:29 am

Nuts! After many years of having to schlep to South San Francisco or Union City for the dumplings we now have Dumpling Depot and Dumpling City within 15 minute drive. And right as we are about to leave the area too!

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Eater, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jul 25, 2017 at 12:09 pm

Poke Lover, you've also had fine sources of Chinese filled dumplings available for years right here in Mountain View.

It's the quiet specialty of Queen House on Castro (dumplings are what originally built their customer base, many versions are on the menu, bags of frozen ones are sold ready to cook). Then since 2010, Bamboo Garden at Rengstorff and Central, with its Shanghai and Dongbei specialties, is a destination dumpling source for the peninsula -- they are the restaurant's biggest seller. Cuisine-knowledgeable Michelin Guide inspectors sounded Bamboo Garden's praises for a couple of years and helped put it on the map, some of its dumpling types are rare in the Bay Area. Other restaurants have respectable selections on dimsum menus (Fu Lam Mum, Cooking Papa). And at the Mountain View Farmers' Market on Sundays, OFS Food sells many kinds of good locally made dumplings frozen.

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Poke Lover, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jul 25, 2017 at 12:48 pm

@Eater - yup, have tried all of those. The Bamboo Garden owner knows me as "Mr Xiao Long Bao" :) Their XLBs are the best in the Bay Area bar none, sorry Din Tai Fung.

But there is a unique quality to the "proper" dumpling places. They are all very similar. The glass door fridges and the freezer chests. The plastic tables. The one page laminated menu, dumplings front and center. The auntie making dumplings at one of the tables in the dining room. The amazing orange spicy sauce. The name: "Dumpling X". There are a number of them scattered around the Bay Area, and that's what we always wanted nearby.

Just came back from getting lunch at Dumpling City, and it ticks off all the boxes. The dumplings and the pancakes were fantastic. Life is good, thank you Elena!

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Eater PA, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Jul 25, 2017 at 1:03 pm

Are these actually hand-made? I fear they are machine made and then frozen for distribution.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Eater, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jul 25, 2017 at 1:09 pm

Hmm, I guess we'd best try these new places to see if it's worth the drive for us too.

Most of those notes cited by Poke Lover (glass-door fridge, plastic, absolutely the auntie making dumplings -- an utter necessity!) can be seen at places like Queen House and Bamboo Garden, but not the Dumpling Something restaurant name. I'd be most interested though in how the dumplings eat, more than what the tables are made of or what the place is called.

 +   3 people like this
Posted by Reader, a resident of another community,
on Jul 25, 2017 at 1:33 pm

@Eater PA (a resident of Evergreen Park):

Re-read the article and look for the hyperlink to the Yelp photos.

If that is not evidence enough, I suggest you personally go to the restaurant and ask to see them make the dumplings.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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