Five reasons you have to visit Hanley’s Little Dumpling King

A lot can happen in 12 months, particularly in a place like Stoke-on-Trent where culture and creativity unite. This bustling city, with its rich heritage and blossoming community, has witnessed a whirlwind of changes over the last year, and remains teeming with creatives determined to see it flourish.

As the saying goes, ‘change is the only constant,’ and this rings true for the city’s culinary scene, too. Over the past year, we’ve seen beloved eateries like Klay, The Corner and North close their doors, leaving behind fond foodie memories and the mystery of dishes left untasted. However, amid these changes, other venues have boldly embraced the challenge to ensure that Stoke-on-Trent’s Cultural Quarter continues to flourish as a foodie destination, from the Gin Rummy and Slamwich Club, to Bottlecraft and Bloom.

One of the newer additions to Piccadilly has been Little Dumpling King, who has been making waves since its grand opening a year ago. Founded by the talented street food chef, Rob McIntyre, this Asian-fusion eatery has become a must-visit for food enthusiasts, theatre goers, university students and more. 

I’ve found myself indulging in double helpings of date-night dumplings, pre-theatre bao buns and, on one occasion when incredibly hungover, actually went up one Saturday morning just for some of their salt and pepper hash browns to-go. In fact, I’ve just checked my online bank statements and don’t want to actually admit how many times I’ve tapped my card there.

As such, I found myself invited to the eatery’s coveted first birthday party last weekend, where Rob expressed his gratitude in the best way he knows how – through discount drinks and great scran.  And while sitting down for the second time in a month at the Piccadilly haunt (having visited weeks earlier for Jake’s birthday), I found myself feeling a bit sentimental about it all. But Rob’s attitude sums it up perfectly: “LDK is here for a good time, not a long time, but it would not exist without your continued support and friendship.”

And if you haven’t experienced the delights of Little Dumpling King yet, here are five reasons why you absolutely need to pay them a visit, and keep Rob rustling up rice bowls for a good and long time. 

Irresistible Asian-fusion small plates

Little Dumpling King is a culinary gem that brings a refreshing and innovative Asian-fusion menu to the city centre – something you’d have ordinarily had to have travelled out to somewhere like Manchester to get previously. Whether you’re a meat lover or prefer vegetarian options, their menu caters to most, with regular dedicated vegan nights for those who are on a plant based diet.

One of my favourite things to do is order a number of their smaller dishes and side orders for the ultimate ‘girl dinner’ or ‘picky tea’, and have spent the last 12 months chewing my way through the menu and have picked up a number of firm favourites.

The menu is ever-changing, but rotates pretty frequently depending on available ingredients, which makes every visit more exciting because there’s usually something new to try. Among the side options perfect for smaller appetites, a kind of Asian tapas or simply to accompany another dish are pickled chillis, chicken karaage and ‘dead good chicken wings’ which pack some heat 

These smaller plates cost anywhere between £3.50 and £6.50, and my favourite is by far the salt and pepper hash browns which are, quite frankly, a culinary masterpiece and the perfect carby creation to soak up a natty wine or cure a hangover. Jake would argue that the spring rolls are superior and will inhale an entire portion to himself ahead of his main. 

Delicious dumplings, baos and mains

The star of the show at Little Dumpling King is its namesake dish. The steamed pork dumplings, priced at a modest £6 for four, are bursting with LDK’s signature pork mince blended with ginger, garlic, and sesame oil, while their venison and chilli variety provide a spicy alternative for those looking for something with a bit more bite. One Tuesdays, the venue does buy one get one free dumplings, practically giving them away. We love to get a couple of different flavours to mix and match them either as a lighter meal, or alongside another dish, like a bao bun or rice bowl. What I love about LDK is that their menu isn’t split into mains and sides, giving you the freedom to create your ideal table of dishes without guilt or judgement.

The bao buns are always a hit. The fried chicken bao is a true explosion of taste and texture. The moist and crispy chicken complemented by the custardy kewpie mayo and garnished with chives and chilli makes for a mouth-watering experience.

My all-time favourite, whether I’m lunching alone or out with friends/family, has to be the steak bavette rice bowl, cooked pink (there’s no negotiation on this, sorry for any ‘well done’ steak eaters), on a bottomless bed of sticky rice doused in ‘gnarly’ seasoning, while Jake recently tried the pork belly rice bowl which is next on my list of dishes to demolish.

Natty wines, cocktails and cans

Enjoying all of the plates at Little Dumpling King is thirsty work, so they’ve curated a small and thoughtfully curated drinks menu which in no way steps on the toes of neighbours Bottlecraft or Bloom, but adds something a little different. With a handful of organic wines, creative cocktails like the Largerita or Tokyo Mule, and a selection of craft beers, there’s something for everyone – red, white, rose, low alcohol beers (the Pineapple one is great), as well as your classic soft drinks like Coca-Cola or Fanta Lemon, if you prefer.

Affordable Prices

Despite the rising cost of living, soaring energy bills and the outstanding quality of their dishes, Little Dumpling King keeps its prices remarkably affordable. With plates ranging from £3.50 to £16, you can indulge in a delightful meal without breaking the bank. 

For scale, Jake and I ordered a steak rice bowl, bao bun, dumplings, noodles, salt and pepper hash browns and side of spring rolls with a couple of beers and a wine and the total came to just over £50. It’s not often I’ll double check the bill thinking I’ve been undercharged, but almost every time I visit LDK, I find myself totting it up on my phone to check because I’m not sure there’s anywhere else you can have a dinner date for less in Staffs. 

Whether you’re grabbing a quick lunch or having a relaxed dinner with friends, Little Dumpling King offers an exceptional value-for-money dining experience. 

Chill vibes

Stepping into Little Dumpling King, they’ve managed to create an inherently working class, anti-establishment atmosphere which draws in exactly the right kind of people. Your vibe attracts your tribe, or so the saying goes, and such is true for 50 Piccadilly. The restaurant’s interior, with black walls and ceiling tiles, red wooden chairs, and skateboards adorning the walls, sets the stage for a relaxed and intimate dining experience that feels as comfortable as a takeaway on your own sofa. The ‘Tories make me f**king sick’ sticker on the fridge, or Rob’s ‘Tories Lie Bab’ t-shirt, make the finishing touches. 

The relaxed vibe and friendly atmosphere make it a perfect place to enjoy a meal with friends or family, and I love that you don’t have to get dressed up to the nines to fit in. It’s authentic, working class and entirely unpretentious.  From their Asian-fusion dishes and scrumptious bao buns to the well-curated drinks menu and affordable prices, Little Dumpling King has undoubtedly carved a special place in Stoke-on-Trent’s culinary landscape.


Find me on: Twitter/X | Instagram


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Where I am

Staffordshire, UK

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 345 other subscribers