Hao Bao Dumplings
This new quick-service downtown satellite of the popular South Sacramento dumpling house usually has a line out the door during the weekday lunch rush, with office workers nabbing every seat and barstool in the modest, utilitarian space. After all, universal is the fondness for any scratch-made, bite-size parcels of dough stuffed with well-seasoned meat or vegetable fillings. Plus, a single order of these adorably squat bundles—8 for $3.99 or $4.99—makes a tasty budget nosh. We dare you not to double the dumplings, especially given the many different combo options from Hao Bao’s choose-your-own-adventure menu. First, pick your pleasure—chicken, beef, pork or a veggie version filled with mushrooms, corn and cabbage. Then choose a preparation—are you Team Pan-Fried and Al Dente or Team Boiled and Tender? Then select dipping sauces from the condiment bar, from traditional shoyu vinegar to spicy aioli. With deep bowls of hand-pulled noodles swimming in a mild broth or topped with a sweet-yet-savory pork gravy rounding out the deceptively bare-bones menu (for now, the namesake bao buns are at the flagship location only), just one question remains: How do you Hao Bao?