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If it weren’t for the eye-catching yellow and red sign, we might have never taken a second look at this tiny North Seattle restaurant — and what captured our attention most was the word “Dumpling” on the signage of Fu Man Dumpling House.

Shaped into gold ingots to symbolize wealth, dumplings have been a traditional cultural dish served on Chinese holidays.

While Fu Man is a bit off the beaten track, the lines out the door during lunch and dinner rush are an indication that the food is well worth the wait.

Our four dishes — we planned to order five, but the owner advised against it — were more than enough, and we even had leftovers.

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The menu:
A variety of 35 items are priced from $1.99 to $9.95. The 11 main dishes are listed under the “homemade” section of the menu. Besides dumplings, Fu Man offers four varieties of soups, noodle soups, chow mein, fried rice and other dishes.

What to write home about: The boiled dumplings had a nice, thick skin stuffed with a pork and vegetable filling. The pot stickers were browned and crisp on the outside, and the spices tucked into the pork and vegetable filling came out piping hot and juicy.

Our favorite was the Chinese beef hamburgers that resembled large, round pot stickers oozing with moist ground beef, onions, ginger and chives. A kid favorite was the green onion pancakes, which came out crispy and flaky.

The special garlic-dipping sauce at each table is a must.

A quick look at the food on other tables, like the thick, hand-shaven noodles with pork and vegetables, had us wanting to come back for more.

The setting: Seven tables and 24 chairs are crammed into this small eatery. Parking is limited in front, with more in the back of the restaurant.

Summing up: The 12-piece boiled dumplings ($8.35); green onion pancake ($8.35); pan-browned pot stickers with pork and vegetable ($8.55); Chinese beef hamburgers ($8.35); and a large bowl of hot and sour soup ($5.95) came to $43.62 with tax.

Mark Yuasa:

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