This Restaurant Is Serving a Gigantic, Ramen-Filled Soup Dumpling
A restaurant in Iowa may have just created the most legit food mashup of all time. Dumpling Darling in Des Moines is serving a dumpling the size of your head, and it’s stuffed with ramen. The doughy dish is 8 inches in diameter and weighs roughly 2 pounds; it’s filled with house-made vegetable broth and noodles, spare rib, egg and locally sourced mushrooms, peppers, cabbage and carrots, and it only costs $12.
The menu at Dumpling Darling features dumplings from around the world, but this one is personal for owner Lesley Rish. The 31-year-old spent a year teaching English in Korea, where she ate dumplings all the time and consequently fell in love with them. Realizing every culture has its own variation of the popular dish, she brought the concept back to Iowa.
Today, she and her team are always thinking of fresh takes using globally inspired fillings. Offerings are ever-changing, but the current menu boasts all sorts of dumpling fusions from China, Korea, Poland and Russia. These can all be attributed to chef Bill Moore, who is constantly cooking up different concoctions in the kitchen.
“One day, he made it, and he made it gigantic with this awesome soupy-ness,” Rish said of the giant ramen soup dumpling. “Eating it is an experience.”
So how do you eat it? Some people use a spoon or fork, while others dig in with chopsticks. Rish said she’s even seen people take a straw to it to slurp the broth. The giant ramen soup dumpling is technically shareable, but it’s also perfectly acceptable to finish on your own.
Dumpling Darling has two locations — one in Iowa City and the other in Des Moines — but the Giant Ramen Soup Dumpling is available in Des Moines only. For the envious elsewhere, it doesn’t appear that any other restaurants are doing anything like this right now. On the bright side, there is a minute-long video on Facebook featuring a step-by-step tutorial from chef Moore — necessary PBR in hand — though it ends in text that reads: “Kids, don’t try this at home. It’s too hard.” Challenge accepted. Don't be surprised if you see this popping up at one of the best ramen shops in America.