Today was my last full day in DC! I spent it furiously editing footnotes in my last legal paper, packing, and whipping up a nutritious/delicious bento for the flight (It’ll be on the blog tomorrow!). I also hung out with my favorite DC people at Chinatown Express, one of the last legit Chinese places in Chinatown, distinguished by chefs standing in the window making noodles by hand. Yes, all their noodles and dumplings are made in-house, IN FRONT OF YOU, and are sold for dirt cheap. The truth is, I’ve been thinking about dumplings for days. I was freakishly productive all day in anticipation. A sexy preview:

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Breakfast: (1) Poached Eggplant Okayu: I had leftover eggplant from last night’s amazing eggplant operations (stewed in mushroom broth, umeshu, shoyu, and sake). The end product is really flavorful, and I thought it might dissolve well into a rice porridge. I was right; the flavors defused really nicely into the 1/2 cup brown rice and 1 cup broth and short pour of rice milk. Topped with roasted and ground sesame seeds, as well as a bit of shiso furikake. Definitely had a smoky, delicious flavor profile! (2) Steamed Bok Choy: just simple steamed bok choy with a dash of shoyu and seto fumi furikake.

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Lunch: (1) Chow Mei Fun-style glass noodles with eggplant, tuna, and shiitake mushrooms, topped with a poached egg and scallions. Sauce strong points = umeshu, shoyu, curry, and bbq sauce. I love love this stuff. (2) Steamed Bok Choy with shoyu and seto fumi furikake.

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Dinner: DUMPLING PARTY AT CHINATOWN EXPRESS. I’m not even kidding, I ordered a round of steamed pork soup dumplings and veggie dumplings. Housed the pork dumplings, saved the veggie dumplings for breakfast tomorrow. The picture below is actually my dinner. The server thought I’d be sharing with the table and placed the dish a bit farther away, but SHE WAS WRONG.

On my last night, I just wanted authentic Chinese and to laugh at inappropriate jokes with my friends. Maj success on both fronts. I’m going to miss these people so much!

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Yes, they make their noodles, dumpling wrappers, and buns by hand, AND they hang the ducks in the window. All good signs.

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“Eric, look really proud of your noodles…”

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And that’s it! It was a great last night, and I’m already scheming all kinds of Chinese bentos!


  1. Dumplings are awesome! I like to watch them make dumplings too – they work so fast! Sounds like you had a great dinner at the restaurant. :) You eat okayu for breakfast? Nice! :)

    • You would have loved to see these chefs here at work; there were whole trays of these perfectly symmetrical dumplings you wouldn’t believe are made by hand at breakneck speed unless you saw it yourself.

      And, I am all about some okayu for breakfast! I started infusing it with different teas, too, like matcha, chamomile and earl grey. 1/2 cup brown rice stewed forever in a cup of strong earl grey tea, and 1/4 cup rice milk with a tsp of honey is heavenly…Rose tea is next on my list.

      THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR STOPPING IN! It’s a huge compliment! As always, love your blog!

  2. Lisa said:

    Looks amazing. When I visited Shanghai I got to watch dumplings being made in front of me and I was fascinated by it, they were all so neat – I’d definitely be all fingers and thumbs.

    • I’ve only been to Beijing, never Shanghai; I bet it was an amazing trip! And, dumplings definitely do look like they’re a bit more work than they let on. I’m going to try to make them sometime over the next few weeks and will hopefully fare better! Btw, your blog is lovely. Excited to scroll through some of those London eats!

    • I’m already craving the soup dumplings! Thanks for stopping by!

    • Also, just saw the midi on your blog. I’m totally inspired!

  3. A said:

    I don’t even know where to begin! I’m so in awe of all your bentos. I seriously need to change up my lunch routine. I love to cook but I like things to be easy during the week. My mind is still spinning from reading through your recipes and all those ingredients. You totally have me craving CE dumplings. I might have to pick up some on the way home. Where are you headed? Good luck! Oh and yes, love District Flea – it’s one of my faves.

    • You gotta pick some up on the way home. Don’t let them forget to give you the red and green dipping sauces! And, thank you so much for the compliments. Please let me know if you get your own bento! I promise they’re easy to put together. Maybe even start with western food? It’s more about mastering portion and balance at first!

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