If you think making the trek from Minneapolis to St. Paul is difficult, try finding a good enough reason to go to Shakopee. Valley Fair was cool -- in eighth grade -- and sure, betting on the horses is fun, especially on dollar hot dog day. But a Shakopee trip more than once a year? Doubtful.
Until now. We're about to give you a crispy, chewy, juicy, delicious, savory reason to head (slightly) south for an evening.
See also: 35: A to Z Pizza Farm Pizza
The restaurant in question is Far East, a small, modest Chinese eatery nestled in a strip mall surrounded by a vast wasteland of chains: Chili's, Panera, Chipotle.
Far East is owned by Maria and Peter Poon, two of the nicest people you'll ever meet, with serious culinary chops to boot. Formerly owners of Princess Garden on Rice Street in St. Paul, the two made the move to Shakopee a few years ago. Far East, much like its predecessor, is an absolute gem with incredible wonton soup (guaranteed to make your cold go away quickly), cashew chicken, Szechuan lamb, and most importantly: spectacular dumplings.
Order them fried and order a lot of them. Crispy on one side, chewy on the other, the handmade dough (made by the grandma of the establishment) is a perfect consistency, with a simple, no-frills pork filling. The accompanying sauce, a soy/vinegar combination, complements the dumplings exquisitely (you'll probably want more to spread over rice or maybe sip up with a straw).
One order gets you six golden dumplings (often plated in a floral shape) for $5.99, but if you're with a friend, you may want to get two orders. And then maybe another few orders to take home. It is in Shakopee, after all.
Far East doesn't have a website but does have a Facebook page (with a pretty adorable profile picture of two cartoon chicken wings holding hands). Follow the restaurant and they'll pop up in your news feed every once in a while with mouthwatering photographs of egg rolls and Moo Shu pork. Suddenly, Shakopee won't seem so far away.
Far East 8046 Old Carriage Ct., Shakopee 952-402-0688
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