One of Houston's most popular Chinese food pop-ups will open a permanent restaurant in January. Dumpling Haus has claimed the former Pokeology space in Sawyer Yards for a brick and mortar restaurant, owner Elaine Won announced.
For the last three years, Won and her daughters Ashley and Amiley Lai have appeared at locations such as Axelrad, Grand Prize, and the weekly Urban Harvest farmers market. The pop-up's dumplings have earned raves for their flavorful fillings and delicate skins. Always pan fried to order, Dumpling Haus has an appealing, home cooked quality that distinguishes it from most restaurants.
“I grew up making dumplings around the kitchen table with my dad and brother. Teaching my daughters to make dumplings was a way to teach them about their family and heritage,” Won said in a statement. "I'm so excited to open a shop with my daughters to share our dumplings and family traditions with everyone who comes in."
Moving to a permanent home will allow Dumpling Haus to expand its menu with beef and vegan noodle soups as well as Taiwanese-style cold dishes. Since the concept focuses on homestyle dishes — eating at Dumpling Haus essentially gives people access to the Chinese grandmother they never had — the restaurant doesn't have plans to jump on the soup dumpling trend that's becoming increasingly popular in Houston.
"Xiao Long Baos (Soup Dumplings) are something we typically eat at a dim sum restaurant or specialty street food vendors that focus and perfect one dish," Ashley Lai tells CultureMap in an email. "Since dim sum is one of our favorites foods, we have great respect for those who have mastered the art of making it."
Adding Dumpling Haus continues the trend of more bars, restaurants, and breweries opening in Sawyer Yards. Buffalo Bayou Brewery has begun a quiet soft opening at its new, three-story facility. A Houston outpost of New Orleans' Urban South brewery and a new cidery called City Orchard are also expected to arrive in the area before the end of the year.