I consider myself something of a Chinese dumpling aficionado. I'd crawl across a field of broken glass for good dumplings. OK, maybe not. But I'd jog across a hot parking lot barefoot for some.
Unfortunately, there are too many places in Seattle that serve mass produced, pre-packaged dumplings that are deep fried and served with some indifferent soy-based sauce or, worse, a weird white sauce that I suspect is nothing more than ranch dressing. In other words, pure heresy on a plate. At the other extreme are the tasty but tiny "gourmet" dumplings that you'll find at places like Wild Ginger.
The best dumplings combine a moist, seasoned filling of meat (usually pork or chicken) and vegetables that lets you taste the individual ingredients wrapped in a thick, chewy but still tender skin that's been steamed then browned on one side. And they're big enough that a few will serve as a meal.
That is most definitely the case with Ram & Rooster Dumplings. We had the chance to try their little pillows of awesome on Saturday at the Seattle Square Market in Occidental Park. They were, by far, the best dumplings I've had in Seattle. You can taste the bits of Bok Choy, ginger and garlic in the pork dumplings and the chicken dumpling had flavorful chunks of mushroom and peas. The skins were just the right thickness and browned perfectly. They offer a variety of dipping sauces, including traditional soy & vinegar, chili pepper paste and others. Needless to say, there's no ranch dressing here. In addiiton to the chicken and pork dumplings, they also have a vegan option which we didn't try.
Jennifer Lim and Thomasin Levin, the proprietors of Ram & Rooster, set up shop at local farmers and crafts markets. You can find them at the Seattle Square Market on Saturdays and the Meadowbrook Farmers Market on Sundays. If you want to know what a real dumpling is like you have to check them out.