Dumplings are to Asians what mac and cheese is to Americans. Every family’s got their own take on it, but your grandma’s is probably the best. For those who don’t have an Asian grandmother to make the comfort food for them, May Way Dumplings out of Winston-Salem is providing Greensboro with a new location to help scratch the itch.
Nestled next to China Wok off of Tate Street, May Way Dumpling’s second location joins the list of established Asian eats near UNCG. The space, which used to be a tanning salon and a laundromat before that, now features dark wood accents and a rainbow of colorful lights — a far cry from the bare and stripped down aesthetic of its original location in Reynolda Village which has been open since 2015. It’s also over twice the size.
“We decided to open a second location because the first location is a bit small,” says owner Katherine Sun. “We didn’t plan on it being this big. We just wanted half the space but the landlord told us we had to use it all.”
On a recent Tuesday, just a day after the new location opened, a lone chalkboard sign marks the existence of the shop. A weathered yellow banner that reads “Got Sun?” still hangs in front of the windows; a proper sign has yet to be installed.
It’s just past noon and a few customers come and go, but the large dining room, fit to seat a couple dozen, remains mostly empty. The hype hasn’t hit yet.
Still, the menu resembles its sister restaurant and even boasts some new items including a whole new appetizer section complete with spring rolls, chicken wings and skewers, as well as a few new noodle and soup options and some rice dishes. A variety of lattés also make the cut for the college kids looking to pull all-nighters for their exams.
And the staple dumplings prove to be just as good as before. The popular fried pork and chicken dumplings still come served in the unassuming paper trays and are accompanied by that delicious, sweet and tangy, Hoisin-type sauce. True to form, they’re just crunchy enough on the outside while still being juicy on the inside. The steamed pork bun, another carryover from the original location, also satisfies with its fluffy, bready exterior and sweet, almost smoky, pork interior.
“Every Chinese people can make it,” Sun notes about dumplings. “I make it at home.”
The only difference?
“These dumplings are meat heavy because Americans like it more,” Sun says.
It’s true. Dumplings remain one of the most ubiquitous foods in many Asian cuisines. On most weekend mornings, hungry patrons fill dim sum houses complete with rolling carts for brunch. (The closest ones are in Durham and Morrisville). I grew up making Japanese gyoza with my mom and you’ll find pop-culture references to dumplings in movies like Crazy Rich Asians and the Pixar short “Bao.” They’re comfort food, neatly wrapped.
But dumplings aren’t the only draw for May Way loyalists. For those who know, the sesame and mala cold noodles maintain their original flavors. Lightly seasoned with slices of cucumber and a hint of peanut, the sesame noodles prove to be the lighter option for those looking for something fresh and easy, while the mala noodles come packed with lots of nutty and sesame flavor with a bit of a spicy kick.
Both of the new skewer selections from the appetizer section also help to round out a meal. The chicken skewers remain juicy, with a mild soy sauce baste, while the beef offers a bit more flavor with hints of fish sauce, black pepper and honey.
For dessert, the restaurant offers its popular and beautifully crafted peach buns, which almost look too pretty to eat. Plump and heart shaped, these sweet treats are filled with red bean paste and are warm when served. The egg custard buns also act as a finishing touch; neither are too sweet.
At less than $5 an order for most of the dumplings, May Way’s second location fits right into the area’s college lifestyle. And with Greensboro still missing a proper dim sum house, this addition proves to be a good alternative for those wanting a different kind of small-plate sharing experience.
You could even bring your grandma and see what she thinks.
May Way’s new location is at 948 Walker Ave., Suite B in Greensboro.