Madison’s Most Marvelous Dumplings



Ainsley Swenson, Reporter

According to a meme made by Relish, “you dim sum and you lose some.” I wholeheartedly agree with this. I truly did “dim sum” and lose some while going to some of the highest-rated dumpling restaurants in downtown Madison. I tried the most popular items on the menu at three locations and was a bit disappointed for some but also completely satisfied with others.


  1. Chen’s Dumpling House

I found out about Chen’s Dumpling House from some friends and while it had some pretty good reviews earning it a four out of five stars on Yelp, I was extremely disappointed. My first impression was not good. I walked into a small and cluttered restaurant and there were only about four other people at the restaurant. I went up to the counter and asked what their most popular item is. The man at the cash register told me that it is their steamed pork dumplings. I ordered a single order of eight dumplings and waited. After about six minutes, I received my order and sat down to eat. 

To start out, their packaging was pretty ugly. Whether you dine in or order to go, your food is given to you in a styrofoam container with a piece of parchment paper. I continued on to pick up what felt like a luke-warm dumpling and took a bite. The inside was scalding to the point that I burnt my tongue and had to take a long drink of water. I waited a few minutes and started my second attempt to conquer the dumplings. This time, the dumplings were the right temperature and I was actually able to focus on the flavor instead of the heat. I have to say that I was severely disappointed. The dumplings had almost no flavor and needed way more seasoning. On top of that, the breading on the outside was extremely dry and not at all flavorful. I tried to salvage these dumplings with some soy sauce, but the dumplings were too far gone.

In conclusion, I give this restaurant two out of five stars because although it was lacking in flavor and the atmosphere felt very cluttered, the restaurant did have great service and the dumplings were not completely inedible.   

According to their website, Chen’s Dumpling House is currently open for takeout and delivery between 11 AM and 11 PM.
  1. DumplingHaus

Before this past Tuesday, I had never been to DuplingHaus but I have heard many people rave about it on a variety of occasions and I have seen that it has a four out of five-star rating on Yelp as well. I ordered ahead after asking what their best item on the menu is and I trekked the whole forty-minute drive to Hildale to pick up my potstickers. I entered this restaurant at about five o’clock and was met by a line of people waiting to order and pick up their meals. After about a five minute wait I picked up my potstickers and paid the $10.25 for my twelve potstickers. I sat down at a nearby table, that was a bit sticky, with a clear view of a lady making dumplings in the kitchen. I took my first bite of the food and was very surprised. Based on the location and outside appearance, I had expected the food to be sub-par even though it has high Yelp ratings.

The potstickers had almost the perfect amount of seasoning, great texture, and were the perfect temperature. Overall, I would give this restaurant four out of five stars because even though the food was great, it was a bit pricey and the tables were not as clean as they could have been.

According to their website, Dumpling Haus is currently open for takeout and delivery between 11 AM and 9 PM mon-sat and 11 AM to 8 PM on Sunday.


  1. Paul’s Pel’meni
Wallpaper Flare

 I had heard of Paul’s Pel’meni many times from my friends and family, but I had never actually been to the restaurant until this past week. I had high hopes for this restaurant due to its four and a half out of five-star rating on Yelp with almost 500 reviews. When I walked up to this small restaurant I was a bit skeptical. The outside appeared to be a bit dingy and I wasn’t sure if it would be clean or if the food would be good. I was proven wrong though because when I walked in I was met by a very nice man behind a very clean counter. I asked the man what the best item on the menu was and he told me it was their full order of the “Works.” I immediately ordered this and paid about $7.50 for it. I sat down in the next room over and waited for about ten minutes. My food was finally brought out to me and I was met by about forty pel’meni (small dumplings) covered in sour cream, butter, pepper, and chili powder. I took my first bite and was instantly mesmerized. All the flavors went so well together and the pel’meni was at a perfect temperature. I finished my food in just a few minutes and bought another order to go!

According to their website, Paul’s Pel’meni is currently open for takeout and delivery between 11 AM and 10 PM.

All in all, I would give this restaurant a five out of five stars because the food was astonishing, the price point was amazing, and the staff was very friendly. I would recommend this restaurant to anyone, and I can confidently give Paul’s Pel’meni the title of Best Dumplings when compared to Chen’s Dumpling House and DumplingHaus.