Restaurant: De Fa Cheng
Location: 28 Pingan Market, Bell Tower Square, Xi’an, China. +86 29 8767 6615
Date: August 2, 2018
Cuisine: Chinese Dumpling House
Rating: Really interesting if a bit “big”
When I came to China in 2008 I ate at De Fa Cheng and enjoyed it tremendously. That trip, it was one of my favorite meals and I always regretted only taking a photo or two (it wasn’t until 2010 that I started photoing every meal I ate). It claims to offer “authentic” Tang Dynasty dumpling feasts. I have my doubts as to the historicity of the food, but it’s sure good.
The place is located right across from the central Ming Dynasty Bell Tower and is at least 3 stories!
I remember this golden dumpling from last time and used it to locate the restaurant again this trip (by some creative googling).
Last time we had a big group and therefore some private rooms upstairs but this time we were in the “grand hall” on the first floor.
They have plastic models of dumplings.
There is a sauce bar you can make up your dumpling sauces at — unfortunately I only noticed after the meal!
We got tea, plum juice (which I love), and some weird herbal/fruit dark brown juice with a highly intriguing and not entirely pleasant flavor.
Cold dishes to start, including the world’s largest dates.
Wood ear mushroom with onions. Loved it.
Spinach, egg, and garlic.
Pickled veggies and meats.
Shrimp and cucumbers.
And super spicy crawfish.
There are many levels of dumpling banquet, varying from about $10 a person to several hundred! We got level 2 or 3, it was about $15, and was a staggering amount of food. There was even a custom veggie version for my wife.
The normal course we ordered came with what seemed to be “all you can eat” boiled pork dumplings, a comfort food I always enjoy. Each time our plate got low they just brought another.
The veggie course likewise had a plate of boiled veggie dumplings. She level got it low but I’m sure they would have replaced it too.
Each person then got one of each type of specialty dumpling. I’m going to have to guess for most what was in them because I couldn’t read Chinese. The brown ones were walnut dumplings. I dunno about the other.
There were duck dumplings and something else here.
A whole selection of veggie dumplings here.
And a second round of different veggie dumplings here.
Then some veggie and some other type here for us.
The orange ones were a touch sweet and really good. Maybe pumpkin.
These dumplings were in a soup with Szechuan peppercorns and hence had a nice numbing bite.
Fried pork dumplings.
More rounds. I can’t remember what they were but the ones with the green edge were really good. Like meatball dumplings.
The middle ones were a strong tomato dumpling and I can’t remember about the outside.
Finally there was a wonton soup.
We got this whole story about the Empress Cixi and how this was made for her. It contained little wontons and the random number in your bowl denotes your fortune somehow.
This was a fun meal and a great deal at $15 a head for an epic gut bursting feast. Light eaters could split a course. In fact we ordered 4 for 3 adults and the kids. The dumplings were interesting and flavorful. My only complaint was that sometimes the skins were a bit chewy/thick. I wonder what the hell is in the expensive banquets? I think they go up to 100 dumpling types!