THINGS I ATE: Meat Cakes at Beijing Pie House

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For about a year and a half, I’ve been wanting to try Beijing Pie House — a Chinese eatery in the heart of Monterey Park, CA. The restaurant boasts dumplings the shape of overgrown hockey pucks that squirt searingly hot liquid at the most benign of pokes, and as we all know, benign poking is truly my forte. Nevertheless, while it took me many months to finally visit BPH (as I’ve decided to call it), I finally gathered up a group of friends, including Sly and Abe, and headed East for a dumpling-tastic adventure.

Our group entered the restaurant tentatively — not because we feared what was inside but more because it was so deathly silent we momentarily assumed we had wandered into a library or perhaps funeral home. Not only was there no music, but the diners all spoke in hushed tones, almost as if the bright fluorescent lighting had beaten them into submission. I suppose I naturally assumed the restaurant would be loud and convivial as patrons burned their tongues and lips and chins with scalding hot dumpling liquid. But no. If people were in pain, they bore the brunt of it in steely silence.

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Things start on a decidedly meatless note. The first dish to arrive at the table is a celery and peanut appetizer, which proves to be very tasty in a nutty, oily way. As our group is ravenous, the contents of this tiny dish is gone in seconds. We’re essentially a pack of wolves.

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