Deep Ellum food scene, how I love thee, let me count the ways (or not, because I'll be here all day). I'm a sucker for Asian food, we've already established this long ago, and in the WWE Super Smackdown of my favorite Deep Ellum spots, Monkey King Noodle Company is right there at the top ready to give 'em the chair. Heck, maybe even all of Dallas because they're that good.
Half the time I go to Monkey King I have a slight panic attack because I can't figure out what I want to order:
- Do I want the Taiwanese chicken nuggets with extra sauce?
- Am I on the verge of getting sick and want the soup dumplings to cure the plague?
- Maybe the pork dumplings will bring me joy and happiness today?
- Hopefully if I order the Dan Dan noodles my puny tastebuds wont wimp out on the spice.
- Oh no, I forgot to order the scallion pancakes!
Do you see my dilemma? This is why I'm usually that person with three plates in front of me (zero shame).
Shot of the menu inside (as you can see, way more stuff than what's on the website)
Let's dig deep in the beauty that is everything I mentioned above (except for the pancakes because everyone ate them before I could get a picture. Figures.)
First up are the pork dumplings. These are the first feel goods I ever tried from MKNC and y'all, they still have my heart because they're bursting with flavor!
Shot of the inside
You get a 10 count of hand rolled wrappers with pork, napa cabbage and a savory garlic chive filling served up with Taiwanese soy sauce.* 10/10 would not share, eat all of these yourself.
*Pulled from the website
Next are the Taiwanese chicken nuggets. GOOD GRAVY are these little buggers delicious, and they're grandma approved (swear, I've taken these over to her house one weekend and she devoured them all in one sitting).
Dunkage in the sauce you should absolutely get extra of
I don't have a description for these as they aren't listed on the site right now — maybe they're special, idk — but I'm going to take a guess and say they're made with chicken since it's in the name, and if you're not a fan of salty foods, I would skip this or take some of the breading off as it can be a little heavy (yay, more for me!).
Pro tip: Ask for extra sauce but MAKE SURE IT'S NOT THE DEMON/DEATH/HADES SAUCE. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Oh the Dan Dan Noodles. I have a love/hate relationship with these guys. Love because the flavor and spices are out of this world good. Hate because I'm a wimp when it comes to Asian spice so my nose runs whenever I try to eat it. Definitely not something you want to showcase when you're dining out with friends. But hey, maybe The Force will be with you and you'll have your shit together more than I do.
Just look at all that ground pork you get!
All mixed together
Noods pull - Sorry for the exposure being weird on this one, I'm blaming the blazing sun interference
House made ground pork is spiked with an abundance of garlic, ginger, and scallions. Sweet, savory and spicy! The fresh noodles are finished with a splash of hot chicken broth and garnished with fresh herbs.* They aren't kidding about the spicy, but again, I'm a giant weenie.
*Pulled from the website
Last up are the soup dumplings, forever may they reign. Eating these without puncturing them can be a bit tricky, especially considering I'm a klutz with chopsticks (and everything else). Usually after a few attempts have been made I just grab them with my fingers, etiquette be damed.
"I'm ready for my close up"
An order of the Xiao Long Bao come with 8 of these beauties. Hand rolled thin and chewy wrappers contain hot and savory chicken and seafood broth with a rich, meaty pork center. Served with ginger-infused Chinese black vinegar, these are an explosion of soupy flavor!* Yes. Yes to all of this. It's 10am and I already want some of these again.
*Pulled from the website
Since their expansion over to a brick and mortar down the street they now have plenty of room inside and out for seating so you don't have to eat in your car and accidentally spill your Dan Dan on the floorboards (yes, this has happened. Shut it.)
Inside shot - there are about 5-6 long tables inside, in addition to the seats at the bar
Shot of the outside patio, dude for scale
In addition to the Deep Ellum location, they've also mosey'd on over to Carrolton, while also keeping the original location — now named the Banana Stand — for sweet treats only.
Overall, I love this place to the moon and back, hands down will go here for my dumpling and asian chicken nugget needs. There's also a bunch of other noodle and soup dishes I haven't tried, so clearly i need to get on it. SIDE NOTE: One of my coworkers has told me that she ate so much of MKNC when she was pregnant that she was convinced her son was going to come out a noodle, so there you go if you needed another push to go.
If you'd like to check them out on your own, here's their info:
Facebook- Deep Ellum | Facebook Carrollton | Instagram | Website