Some people crave steak. Some people crave wings. Some people crave chocolate.
Me? I crave dumplings.
I pine for dumplings from every corner of every culture. Pierogi, gnochhi, jiaozi, momos, gyōza, matzah balls, and even plain ol chicken n' dumplins - I crave them all without prejudice.
With Asian dumplings on the brain on a damp November evening, we contemplated Jun Bo or Tanpopo, but we instead headed to Evergreen Chinese, a Taiwanese spot recommended by Andrew Zimmern for its jiaozi (potstickers). Located in a lower level, beneath a flower shop on eat sreet, Evergreen is understated in appearance. There ain't nothing fancy about this joint. For the most part, it seems they devote their energy to the food.
A server wearing a sweatshirt, sneakers, and jeans brought us some hot tea, and dropped off the menus. Most of the entrees fell at, or below, $10.
We started the meal with some boiled peanuts and potstickers.
Cold boiled peanuts are strange and savory and good. They're especially good with hot tea. Gerg looks wary in the photograph, but that had more to do with our conversation than the peanuts.
You might notice there are no photos of the potstickers. We ate all the potstickers before I realized I forgot to take a photo. Why did we scarf them down so quickly, you ask? Because they were SUPER tasty. Tender, juicy, and perfectly browned on the bottom, they are an on point dumpling. I feel strange about the fact that I didn't take a photo of my favorite part of the meal. However, my date was a fox, and I got distracted. SO THERE.
For our entrees, gerg ordered the moo shu pork and I ordered the three cup tofu.
The moo shu pork was a combo of shredded pork with cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, eggs, and green onions, served with two pancakes, which were more like crepes. A red squeeze bottle of hoisin sauce accompanied the entree to the table. The green onion was nice and crisp. The pork was tender. The portion was ample, to the extent that some of it fell off of the plate.
The three cup tofu is kind of amazing. It's fried tofu served up with heaps of garlic, basil, and ginger, in a sauce made with soy sauce, sesame oil, and cooking wine. I added a little hoisin sauce just because, but that was unnecessary. Looking for a flavor explosion? Try the three cup tofu. The tofu was fried tofu- nothing rad, or anything, but the SAUCE was.....WIN.
Oh, and for the vegetarians out there, Evergreen Chinese has more mock meats than, well, any other place I've been to in Minneapolis - mock chicken, mock pork, mock beef, mock duck, mock shrimp, and mock squid. That's some serious mockiness. You can even have the potstickers made with mock meat. Lucky you!
Our bill for the evening was about $28. I'll need to head back to try the steamed dumplings, steamed buns, and the sauteed eggplant.
PS - In addition to accepting any and all items from the Swiss Colony catalog, I am now accepting dumplings as gifts.