Lao Wang Noodle House

Amid the myriad of run down strip malls and fast food joints on the stretch of Federal Boulevard between Alameda and Mississippi one can find a hole in the wall restaurant called Lao Wang Noodle House. There isn’t anything that noticeably sets it apart from any of the other hundred just like it down the road. The outside is a dingy store front butted up against a tight fitting parking lot. Inside there is a small area containing 26 seats with walls virtually devoid of decor save for the Chinese wall menu.

The menu for those who can read it.

Despite these seemingly negative aspects, this restaurant holds within its red and beige walls a not so well kept secret. That is, of course, its Xiao Long Bao.
Xiao Long Bao
Xiao Long Bao is a type of “bun” (or what we in the US would call a dumpling) that is filled with a bit of broth and a ball of pork meat. They are steamed to perfection in stacked bamboo “baskets” which are lined with cabbage leaves in order to protect their precious cargo. If one intends to eat these delicious bites and not get scalded, it is important to either A) drain the bun of the broth before popping it into your mouth, or B) puncture the top and providing sufficient amount of time for the broth to cool. I choose option A. I pierce the side of the dumpling and allow the broth to seep out into my spoon. I then sip down the brothy goodness, dip the bun into my sauce and proceed to take delicate bites, as there is still a risk of heat related injury.

Eating Option A

It comes as no surprise to me that this place has won a number of awards from some of Denver’s most reputable publications. Including the recent edition of Westword’s “Best of”. Because, although they are most well known for the award winning delicious dumplings, they also have a slew of other menu items that to titillate the taste buds.
Most notable for me is the pan fried pot stickers. The ultra thin dough is stuffed with a hearty helping of pork before being crimped closed and pan fried until wonderfully crisp. Although they also have a shrimp filled version, I find that the traditional pork filling is by far my favorite. I would also venture to say that although I love the Xiao Long Bao, the pot stickers steal the top spot in my heart and stomach.

Crispy Pot Stickers. YUM!

The right side up pot sticker

They do have a number of appetizers that are also worth snacking on while waiting for the main meal to arrive. I particularly enjoy the simplicity and flavor of the Spicy Cucumber, as well as the Spicy Seaweed.

Seaweed Salad

Before closing this post, I feel it my duty to warn you that there is one caveat to this place, and that is the pace at which you will move through your experience here. To describe it as slow, often will not do it justice. The elder couple that owns the restaurant is also the only set of employees that service it. From waitressing and bussing the tables, to preparing the food in the kitchen these two do it all. So, don’t be offended if you are not immediately helped upon entering the restaurant. If it is a busy day, you may wait a half an hour for your order to be taken. But make no mistake, the wait is undoubtedly worth it. Just sit back and enjoy the slower pace respite from our fast and hectic lives.
So, if you are in the mood to try something new and find yourself near Federal Boulevard, venture down to the Lao Wang Noodle House and indulge in a dumpling. Just be prepared though because this hole in the wall delivers a whole different experience from your fast paced, corporate owned, chain restaurant provide. And don’t be surprised when you start to dream of soup dumplings and crispy pot stickers.
Basic Info
Cuisine: Chinese, Noodles, Dumplings
Restaurant Features: On-site Parking
Address/Phone: 945 S Federal Blvd Denver, CO 80219 / (303) 975-2497
Tuesday – Sunday: 11:00 am – 8:30 pm
Monday: Closed
Website: N/A
Lao Wang Noodle House on Urbanspoon

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