At Paper Lantern Dumpling House, the queue to the cashier runs into the tables of those who are already sitting down. But with a brief menu, the line moves fast. Printed on a small wooden board hung above the cashier, the list orbits around five xiao long baos, two pan-fried dumplings and wontons soaked in a sauce made with red chile oil. It advises ordering at least two to three dishes per person—which is true if you intend to eat only the dumplings. But you shouldn’t do that. There is, for example, an excellent lunch box that has rice topped with a lightly battered fried pork chop and enough sautéed cabbage to constitute a daily serving of vegetables. Another filling dish of boiled noodles and julienned snow peas has the bloated strands covered in a spicy sesame paste as rich as Skippy peanut butter.
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