McAllen’s Noodles & Dumplings is an exploration in deliciousness

The colorful combo dumpling option which includes two beef, two chicken, two pork and two vegetables dumplings. (Omar Zapata | The Monitor)
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McALLEN — Recently-opened Noodles & Dumplings provides a great flavorful variety of Chinese food, perfect for almost every occasion for newcomers or foodies.

You just have to make sure to get an order of dumplings.

With the recent rain rolling through the Valley, I decided to visit Noodles & Dumplings for this week’s South Texas Flavor.

But before I go into what I enjoyed about the restaurant, I want to ask one simple question: How do you say dumplings in Spanish? Take a guess first, don’t just go straight to Google.

I ask this because I brought my mother and brother to try the restaurant out. My mom is a very traditional Mexican woman, and can really throw it down in the kitchen, but she never really tries other kinds of food.

Trying to describe the food we’re about to eat to her, my brother and I ran into that question …

How do you say dumpling in Spanish ?

Giving up after going blank, my brother turned to Google. He said that they can be called empanadillas chinas. I found online that they can also be called bolas de masa hervida.

I’m not really sure which one is correct (I’ll just say “los dumplings” to her going forward) but what I do know is that they were delicious, even to my Mexican mom who doesn’t like to step out of her comfort zone with food.

Noodle & Dumplings is relatively new, but you have to make it past all the expressway construction to reach it.

Stepping into the restaurant, you first observe the kitchen through a window behind the reception area. You notice everyone hard at work on the food while jamming out to some music. Not sure what language the music was in, but it gives you a sign of authenticity.

BBQ Baos (Omar Zapata | The Monitor)

The menu is large but is great for someone wanting to try something new or a picky eater that knows exactly what they like and don’t.

The menu features dumplings, Baos, noodle plates, noodle soups, plates with rice, appetizers and other entrees. Of course, going to a restaurant called Noodles & Dumplings, I had to try both.

Dumplings come filled with either beef, pork, chicken or vegetables and can be either steam or pan fried.

For those indecisive about what they want or wanting to try all the different options, they offer a colorful combo dumpling option which includes two beef, two chicken, two pork and two vegetables dumplings.

We ended up getting that option pan fired along with four steamed baos stuffed with BBQ pork.

A piece of the BBQ Baos. (Omar Zapata | The Monitor)

Pan fried was the way to go since it added a nice crisp to the colorful and delicious dumplings that were packed with flavor. All of the options were delicious, but my favorite were the beef dumplings.

Dipping the dumplings into a little sauce that it comes with adds to the already tasty flavor.

The dumplings were my mom’s and brother’s favorite food at the restaurant.

The Baos were also good. The fluffy dough was sweet and went well with BBQ pork. Also having a sweet taste to it, the BBQ pork was not overwhelming like what i imagined the BBQ sauces would be — a bit on the sweeter side but I’m sure the other options, such as beef scallion or the vegetable baos, offer a different, less sweet flavor.

I couldn’t just eat dumplings and not try some type of noodle dish, so I ordered Tonkotsu Ramen Soup with Beef. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am not a soup kind of guy but with each new variety of soup I try, the more wrong I realize I’ve been.

Google says Tonkotsu in Japanese means pork bones. The soup had a pork bone broth served with your choice of protein with green onions, cilantro, broccoli, corn, an egg, seaweed, fish cake and fried onion flakes.

The Tonkotsu Ramen Soup has a pork bone broth served with your choice of protein with green onions, cilantro, broccoli, corn, an egg, seaweed, fish cake and fried onion flakes. (Omar Zapata | The Monitor)

The bowl of soup is huge and can easily feed two people.

With the bowl packed with all of the mentioned items, I grabbed a different food every time I reached into the huge bowl with my chopsticks or spoon.

The broth really made the soup have such a great flavor with every bite and especially with the beef. The beef was very soft with certain pieces just melting in your mouth.

Overall, Noodles & Dumplings is a great restaurant and offers Valley residents another option to explore with family and friends.

I can’t wait to go back and try the other options while of course ordering those delicious dumplings again.

It’s located at 1400 E. Expressway 83, unit 100, in McAllen and open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.