A “hole in the wall” is a small and unpretentious place often used to describe restaurants. Tian Jin Dumplings in Oakland Chinatown is literally a hole in the wall. You stick your face in front of a window (hole) and order your food for take out. My coworker and I have been meaning to go there for awhile and finally went last week.
There are only six cooked items on the Tian Jin Dumplings menu, and we attempted to get all six. Unfortunately two of the six items had already sold out so we could only get four. We had to wait about fifteen minutes for our food to be ready. One could potentially eat in one of the two small tables on the sidewalk. On this particular day, it was very windy, so we took our food to the Oakland City Center to eat.
We started our lunch with the savory Tianjin crepe which is an egg based crepe with black sesame seeds filled with Chinese donut and preserved vegetables. I thought it was quite unique in both flavor profile and texture. It is actually one large crepe that is cut into two. This alone could be a meal in itself. My coworker and I only got through half the order.
Next we tried the biscuit. The biscuit was very boring and really a waste of carbohydrates. I don’t recommend this at all.
The first dumplings we ate were the chive dumplings. These pieces of wonderful are generously filled with pork and chives.
The alternate dumplings were the cabbage dumplings, which I liked best. They were moist, juicy, and some of the best dumplings I have had.
Tian Jin Dumplings definitely impressed me as well as others. I brought the leftovers back to the office and shared some of the remaining dumplings with two other coworkers. After sampling, they both requested that I take them there In the near future, which I agreed. But next time I’ll get there early so I can try the two sold out items – tea smoked egg and the Tian Jin pork bun.