Few Chinese restaurants in the Dallas area can boast a loyal Chinese and non-Chinese clientele, but Jeng Chi has attracted both ever since the restaurant first opened in 1990. This is simply because Jeng Chi bothers to stay relevant. Back in April, co-owners Mei and Francisco Teng closed their family business to expand it from 3,000 to 8,300 square feet. Inside the renovated space—located in Richardson’s Chinatown—is a new cafe with European-influenced desserts and coffee roasted by Addison Roasters. Sometimes Francisco’s father, Wuan Hai, stands at the door to greet old friends and new guests with a friendly bow, switching between “ni hao” and “hello.” Even at 74 years old, he oversees the making of all the handmade noodles and makes the dumpling dough himself. Dumpling ladies then pinch and fold the skin to create delicate, one-bite wonders, such as the vegetarian dumplings filled with tofu, wood ear mushrooms, and rice vermicelli—a process guests are privy to at the recently added noodle bar. The home-style menu still offers the same shareable hot pots, seafood plates, and over-rice dishes. Tender cubes of beef, pocket tofu, cilantro, and scallions float inside a clear broth of bean noodle soup that makes it easy to finish every last drop. But ask any regular and they’ll say the pork soup dumplings (xiao long bao) are a must-order. Slurping the savory broths inside these noodle puffs is one of the more satisfying activities in life.
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