Journey to the Dumpling

7419 Laguna Blvd #180

Elk Grove, CA 95758

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

A new entrant to the Elk Grove restaurant scene, and one of the only restaurants in Sacramento County serving up prized pork soup dumplings, Journey to the Dumpling brings in a lot of hype and curiosity to the busy Target shopping plaza causing wait times exceeding an hour. Having attempted to eat here a couple times already and leaving due to long wait times, we decided to come around opening time to avoid the rush. Luckily, we arrived around 15 minutes after opening and managed to score one of the last two tables before filling up. As we entered the modern restaurant, a hostess quickly seated us at a booth and provided us with menus. After reviewing the menu for a few minutes, we knew what we wanted, but a server never came by. Eventually, a server came by to take our drink and food orders.

Today, we decided to order the pork Xiao Long Bao, pork potstickers, wonton with chili oil, and tan tan mein. Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings) come from Shanghainese and Taiwanese cuisines and were made famous due to the worldwide Taiwanese chain, Din Tai Fung. Since the closest Din Tai Fung is in San Jose with their own long wait times and reservation system, it has been hard to find good Xiao Long Bao in the Sacramento area. Luckily, the pork Xiao Long Bao at Journey to the Dumpling do very well by providing an ample amount of savory broth in each dumpling with an adequate amount of meat inside. The wrapper was a bit thick at the top, but the overall wrapper was not too thick. The pork potstickers were flavorful, especially when dipped into the provided sauce, but the potstickers themselves were quite small. The wonton with chili oil was a good value, but the sauce was not spicy enough. The wontons themselves were also very small. The tan tan mein had very soft noodles with good texture, but there really was not any flavor in the broth and meat. The servers did mess up and bring a journey noodle soup with large thick noodles on accident, but we were able to keep it for free since she said it was tan tan mein. This soup was like a combination between minestrone with hot and sour soup. The noodles were fresh and tasty. The meat varied in fattiness, but there was enough meat for the noodles.

Overall, Journey to the Dumpling did very well for the pork Xiao Long Bao, but some of their other dishes were disappointing. I would say it is worth coming here for the Xiao Long Bao, but I would not wait an hour. I would want to give this place a try again to taste other menu items and possibly new dumplings that have not hit the menu yet. Service was mediocre until the server messed up, but all of this is expected in a new restaurant. If you want to try Shanghainese or Taiwanese cuisine, then you should definitely give Journey to the Dumpling a try, but just get there early if you are going on a weekend.

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