Dumplings are a northern Chinese staple—inexpensive, hearty, and with a variety of fillings—and the boiled dumplings (shuijiao) at Baoyuan don’t disappoint. What sets them apart from your corner dumpling shop is the colored dumpling skins, dyed with juice from spinach, tomatoes, carrots, and purple cabbage. Customize your order by choosing your skin and filling—say, a spinach dumpling filled with cucumber, cilantro, pork, and lotus root, or a cabbage-dyed purple wrapper with bean sprouts, crispy rice, pork, and cabbage inside. There’s no denying that these dumplings photograph well, and that, plus the quirky venue—two dining rooms reached by a stroll through a fake garden and over a bridge—makes this a worthy place for a cheap and cheerful lunch or dinner.
Baoyuan makes the kind of dumplings we'd happily eat all the time. The crispy rice and red cabbage dumpling (blanketed with a vibrant purple wrapper) is a fan favorite, as is the smoked tofu and eggplant. This dumpling joint is incredibly popular with locals, so expect to elbow out the competition for a seat at the table. Little English is spoken here, but that doesn't actually matter, as they have giant picture menus perfect for pointing and gesturing.