Just a short walk down Wahsatch Avenue is a small, red building with a spray-painted mural covering the outside; in the mural, two figures are ready to fight next to the words “Lucky Dumpling.”
Despite the darkly painted interior, light floods into the restaurant space from a large window that stretches across the front wall. An open kitchen and bar area fill the front of the space, and you can smell soy, ginger, and chive the minute you open the door. A wooden bar top frames the open kitchen, and painted along the front side of this structure are faces of hip-hop legends like Biggie Smalls, Method Man, and Tupac, which are accompanied by famous quotes. At first, it feels confusing to hear Tupac and Devin the Dude playing through the speakers at a dumpling restaurant, but the waitress soon informed us of the owner’s intention to introduce his customers to the mixture of cultures that he grew up with.
Chef Brother Luck, the restaurant’s owner, explained that he fell in love with dumplings as a young boy. Luck attended culinary school at age 18 with the specific goal of learning to make the most delicious dumplings. He seems to have a knack for fusion foods, as the dumplings on the menu at Lucky Dumpling are unlike dumplings you would find at a regular dim sum restaurant; they’re delicious and displayed like art across small white plates.
While ’90s hip-hop beats reverberate through the space, classic kung fu films play on the TV above a smaller bar at the back of the restaurant. The décor is a distinct mixture of Chinese and hip-hop influences, which I have never seen before, but it blends seamlessly to create a very particular dining experience.
The unique menu is split into five sections: dumplings, fish and seafood, small bites, meats, and sweets. Other ginger chive pork dumpling was absolutely delicious, and incredibly rich, with slices of chive sprinkled on top along with soy sauce and chili oil. The menu also offers a smoked eggplant dumpling and a green curry dumpling. The crab fried rice, located under the fish and seafood portion, had an entire fusion of flavor and texture, with tender crab, chewy and sweet pork, salty egg, and warm, perfectly cooked rice. The steamed bao buns taste completely homemade and are served warm with large chunks of juicy pork.
The menu also offers more expensive, unique items, such as the orange lacquer foie gras served with sesame crackers and plum, or the five spice duck confit served with pear slaw, carrot puree, and raisins. Lucky Dumpling could be an expensive meal out, or an affordable one, depending on the items chosen from the menu. The waitress recommends sharing all dishes to maximize the flavors you can taste, which ends up being a nice way to spend less money and try more dishes.
Lucky Dumpling offers something for everyone, from the blending of cultural décor and ambiance, to the wide variety of flavors and foods on the menu. The intentionally decorated plates, and unique combination of flavors encouraged me to eat slower and consider every bite. I left feeling perfectly full and light.