May 10, 2019 By Meghan Sackman
A traditional Shanghainese restaurant that focuses on dumplings, Bund on Broadway, has opened in Astoria.
The restaurant, located at 25-08 Broadway, is owned by two Forest Hills residents, originally from Shanghai, and focuses mostly on the delicate craft of making dumplings, according to co-owner David Kong.
Kong and his childhood friend, the other co-owner, also own a Forest Hills restaurant they opened in 2016 called “The Bund Chinese Cuisine.”
The Astoria location had its soft opening on April 17 and is planning for a grand opening at the end of May.
The locale, which has a mural of Shanghai painted on the main wall, is named in honor of the waterfront area in Shanghai, The Bund, that is a seaport.
The Broadway restaurant, which seats 35 people, differs from the duo’s Forest Hills establishment, since its chefs are specially trained to make dumplings and use elaborate steaming tools.
The chefs in Forest Hills mainly use a wok, or a bowl shaped pan, which has a higher flame and uses more oil. The Forest Hills location offers a wider range of Shanghainese foods, and is not focused on dumplings.
The most popular dish at the Astoria restaurant, Kong said, is their specialty: Bund Pork Soup Dumplings or Pork Shanghainese Dim Sum. The dumpling chefs grind their own pork freshly every day, hand wrap it in a 10 gram wad of homemade dough, and then cook a pork-skin-based soup with garlic, onion, and chicken stock for more than eight hours and serve it altogether.
“The most important part is the skin,” Kong said of the dumpling cooking technique. “That’s the tricky part. If they’re too thick they’re chewy, if they are too thin the break. The chef has to be specially trained to get it just right.”
Other popular dishes include the Peking Duck appetizer, which is two pieces of crispy cooked duck with scallions, cucumber, and a dark sweet and salty hoisin sauce; a scallion pancake, which is dough mixed with hot water and scallions flattened out into a pancake; and Shanghainese Spicy Pork Noodle Soup, another traditional dish made with diced spicy pork cutlets, chili aioli sauce, with a chicken stock base.
Kong hopes the restaurant’s menu will expand, as business grows, to include dishes that mix Eastern and Western flavors so everyone finds something familiar in their dish.
A dish planned for the future menu, named Sao Mai, Kong said, is an example of a dish that mixes Eastern cooking methods with Western flavors. It has a sticky rice base wrapped in dough with soy flavor but would be made with bacon bits instead of minced pork to include Western flavors.
Desserts such as a soy bean custard and a pumpkin rice cake are also planned to be added to the menu.
Kong and his business partner decided to open a location in Astoria because Kong said he would spend a great deal of time in his childhood in Astoria. He noticed there weren’t many traditional Chinese places and felt the need to share the cuisine with people in the area.
“I loved the neighborhood growing up,” Kong said. “I eventually realized there were no really authentic Chinese restaurants in the area, so I decided to open one.”
Bund on Broadway is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 10:15 p.m.
Kong said he is currently working on getting a beer and wine license for the restaurant.