Chinese restaurant provides unique foods, lacks flavor
Serving Cantonese and Chinese style dumplings, Little Fat Dumpling is a fairly new addition to the Fresno/Clovis food scene. The small space located off of Friant Rd. seems to attract crowds in search of their signature xiao long bao soup dumpling.
When patrons first walk in, you notice a line of cooks along one side of the wall cooking and assembling dumplings. One the left, tables line the wall and a small waiting area is surrounded by bags of rice. The small restaurant space seems cluttered and feels cramped.
The menu at first glance is a bit confusing, although with proper reading makes sense. Most options are offered as dumplings (steamed) or potstickers (steamed then pan fried). There are a variety of options ranging from the xiao long bao (broth-filled steamed pork dumplings) to the traditional pork potsticker. They also offer vegetable dishes and traditional Chinese restaurant dishes such as walnut shrimp and broccoli beef.
The restaurant’s decor is more modern but extremely busy and jumbled, there is barely any organization and the lack of theme is apparent throughout the building. Along the counters line a variety of fruits, plants and other random decorations.
While there, my family and I ordered the vegetarian fried rice, pork potstickers, xiao long bao, breen beans, red bean buns and egg custard buns.
Although filled with bursts of color from the vegetables, the fried rice was bland and the rice proved to just be a filler with no real purpose in the dish. The rice and vegetables were unseasoned and soft, unlike typical fried rice. The lackluster flavor seemed to be a recurring theme throughout most of the meal. The potstickers were also unnaturally pale and showed no signs of being browned, a sad addition to the flavorless meat.
The following tweet from Lifehacker features an article demonstrating how to turn Thanksgiving leftovers into dumplings.
— Lifehacker (@lifehacker) November 23, 2018
Their specialty, the xiao long bao, was not as exciting as famed to be. Although it was interesting to see the dumpling filled with soup, the overall result was disappointing. If not eaten when first served, the soup coagulated and became chunky. Not only that but the dumpling had a tendency to stick to the dish and rupture, spurting soup everywhere. Although more flavorful than the fried rice, the green beans still needed more flavor and tasted overtly of garlic.
While there, the service was not as good as expected, our waiter seemed ignorant and dressed sloppily. When we asked for bowls he brought two bowls for a group of seven. He seemed to be the only waiter for the whole restaurant.
The only thing that was actually enjoyable were the egg custard buns. The bread was pliable and soft, that contained a great flavor on its own without diminishing the actual custard. The custard itself was a bright yellow color and contained a rich and unique flavor. The flavors and textures combined perfectly and felt velvety in your mouth.
Overall, the restaurant provides a casual and quick eatery which although enticing, lacks flavor and disappoints expectations for quality food.
Little Fat Dumpling is located on 8482 N. Friant Rd. They are open Monday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
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