CLOSED: Chinese Dumpling House 真東北餃子館 (Markham)

Location: Markham, Canada
Address: 3636 Steeles Avenue East
Type of Meal: Lunch



Although Chinese Dumpling House specializes in the doughy pockets of joy, they still have a pretty extensive menu of other Northern Chinese favourites. The ordering sheet is written in Chinese (without pictures) and on the side a printed menu with English translations and pictures is provided. Ordering can be somewhat difficult as it requires matching characters from the sheet to the menu and the menu doesn’t seem to encompass everything so certain dishes will remain a mystery if you can’t read Chinese.

With about a dozen varieties of dumplings to choose from I had originally wanted the leek, pork and shrimp version (found in the English menu).  Unfortunately, we could not find it on the order sheet so settled on the pork, chive and egg steamed dumplings ($4.99) instead. Fifteen of them were made to order by two ladies constantly wrapping at the store’s entrance and within 15 minutes arrives at our table steaming hot.





The wrapper was an ideal thickness - thick enough to have some elasticity to it but still thin enough to not overwhelm the filling.  Be careful when biting in as they’re quite juicy and the hot liquid could spray your companion!  The meat mixture was a bit bland so you’ll need to rely on the condiments left on the table to give it flavour (red vinegar, soy sauce, hot sauce, salt and a small bottle of something that smells like wasabi).




Another Northern China dish I love are soy sauce braised brisket noodles ($5.99). Strangely, although the literal translation is “red roasted beef noodle” the dish isn’t red or roasted at all.  Apparently, anything cooked with soy sauce is often labelled as “red roasted”. Chinese Dumpling House’s noodles are also made in house and one of the better ones I’ve had.  There’s a nice bite to it and held up quite well despite having sat in the broth for a while waiting for us to finish up the dumplings - dumplings are best eaten hot or the wrapper starts to get hard.


The brisket itself was pretty dismal - not flavoured enough and extremely fatty so about a third was inedible. Like the dumplings, the soup was pretty bland when it’s supposed to be a fragrant and rich broth. Needless to say, I had to add quite a bit of hot sauce to the noodles to give it some oomph.  Chinese Dumpling House does have other soup based noodles which I’d suggest trying instead; the neighbouring table ordered pickled vegetable with slivers of pork which looked better than ours.  

The order of sautéed snow pea shoots with garlic ($6.99) was a reasonable price.  You may find these look different from the dark green leafy ones found in other restaurants as these are cultivated in a greenhouse (understandably since we visited in the winter). Personally, I find the leafier non-greenhouse variety tastier as they have a stronger pea taste, but if you want to eat this year round this is a good alternative.


We ended off with a pan fried red bean pancake ($2.99) which was brought out near the end of our meal - I was pleasantly surprised as sometimes Chinese restaurants don't bother timing dishes and bring dessert out early to just finish up an order. The dough was rolled thinly and cooked to a lovely golden brown with crispy air pockets throughout.  There was also a fair amount of red bean paste in it - which was thankfully sweet enough - and quite delicious.  For the low price the pancake was surprisingly big and we ended up taking half to go.


For my dumpling cravings I’ll still likely go to Dumpling Restaurant to satisfy myself on account of their easy to understand menus and somewhat improved eating conditions.  Nonetheless, Chinese Dumpling House is still a good alternative offering budget friendly prices and does have better noodle consistency.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10



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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


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