Food and Food: Asia and japan11 Oct 2010 01:37 am

tong tong dim sum and dumplings, naha

After watching Anthony Bourdain chow through dumpling after dumpling on episodes of No Reservations set in Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai, I had a craving for dumplings (and dim sum) that could not be shut up.

Although there is a wide selection of fresh steam and sautee-at-home gyoza and dumplings at the supermarkets here, the wrappings are often tough and the filling salty. There is no substitution for fresh dumplings. I read some rumours of a hotel that served up dim sum and a small cafe on the northern part of the island that did as well, but as we are still without a car, these were not really feasible.

Bearing this in mind and adding to it the knowledge that there is a huge Taiwanese influence on the food here, I knew there had to be dumplings somewhere more accessible in the city…apart from the substandard gummy ones kept in cabinets at the convenience stores.

Finally, I found a place worth checking out. Down a back alley off of Kokusai Dori, the touristy main drag in Naha is Tong Tong.

The space (8 seats) and menu (10 items) is small, but it need not feature much. It is clear the thing people come here for is steamed dumplings.

We were the only patrons on a Sunday morning. What was prime dim sum time back home (11am to 1pm) saw this little cafe a wasteland. Thankfully, this meant the server/cook/man running the show could spend a bit of time to help us figure out the menu.

We got three large steamed dumplings, in three different flavours; regular pork, agu special pork and spicy pork. Agu is what Okinawa is famous for – a special kind of local pork. It is from a wild pig that runs around the Okinawa jungles, apparently.

tong tong dim sum and dumplings, naha

Some pork shu mai. The wrappings were tender and the interior succulent and meaty. If they were not so hot, you could pop them like candy.

tong tong dim sum and dumplings, naha

tong tong dim sum and dumplings, naha

tong tong dim sum and dumplings, naha

Our favourite was by and far the special agu pork dumpling. It was savoury, a bit fatty and flavourful. Packed full of meat, this was a very filling dumpling. The dumpling itself was fluffy and moist, not dry. Not gummy. Just perfect, actually.

The other two dumplings were definitely delicious as well, and they all had their own unique tastes and flavours.

tong tong dim sum and dumplings, naha

tong tong dim sum and dumplings, naha

We also got an order of gyoza, pan fried. Well balanced and tender, these were not the salty underfilled messes I had eaten elsewhere.

tong tong dim sum and dumplings, naha

Deliciously silky almond and coconut pudding to round out the meal.

tong tong dim sum and dumplings, naha

Tong Tong also offers a take away window and packages you can bring home to steam yourself. I look forward to returning here after we sample a few other of the dim sum places I have managed to find in Naha.

Dim sum for two was about 1800 Yen including an iced coffee and a pair of puddings.

Tong Tong Dumpings and Dim Sum
11:30 to 8pm, closed Wednesdays
Two intersections east of OPA on the opposite side of Kokusai Dori, look for a small sign with a beetle and `B-Pro` on it. Turn south at the sign. The restaurant should be your next left. Or just input the address in Japanese into Google Maps or GPS. There is no parking – I suggest the bus or monorail.
I believe there is also a small stand on Zamami Island and one on Awase selling the dumplings.

5 Responses to “tong tong dumplings, naha (okinawa dim sum, pt. 1)”

  1. on 11 Oct 2010 at 11:02 am Julie

    Hi Kelly! Your post made me think of this crazy little place in the depths of Sakaemachi that you cats might enjoy. It is a little tricky to find but wandering around Sakaemachi is part of the fun! This little place is not so much dim-sum but it is definitely worth a try!

  2. on 11 Oct 2010 at 9:27 pm Kelly

    Ooh! Totally going to try and find that place, Julie. We went to a noodle bar there a few weeks ago, so I am eager to scout out more good eats there.

  3. on 05 Nov 2010 at 8:09 am Kathy

    What city is this in and what is the address. I could not seem to find it. Thanks so much

  4. on 05 Nov 2010 at 8:59 am Kelly

    Hi Kathy,

    It is in Naha, Okinawa in Japan. I have included the address, but it is in Japanese. Sorry.

  5. on 29 May 2012 at 12:29 pm Leon

    Hey just wanted to give you guys a heads up, went looking for that place today and it seems to have moved locations… so if anyone finds the new location please share!