A palace of hand-kneaded dough serving zha jiang mian and dumplings has arrived in Northwest Portland. Bing Mi Dumpling and Noodle Bar (2572 NW Vaughn St) softly opened on January 9 with a menu of noodles, dumplings, and fried rice—vegan options, too—and is currently offering takeout only while it gears up for its grand opening on February 1.
This is the first brick-and-mortar restaurant from Jacky Ren, who also owns the popular Bing Mi jianbing cart, now in Nob Hill after a long residency under its original owners at the old 10th & Alder downtown pod. Eggy, cracker- and pickle-filled jianbings are popular in Shandong, China, where he grew up. With the dumpling and noodle bar, Ren wants to offer Portlanders an even broader taste of his home, one that’s full of nostalgia.
“There’s other foods from northern China and Shandong I want to introduce to people here,” says Ren. “Dumplings and noodles are one of those very common things I grew up eating. My mom, [for] any kind of festival, would make dumplings, and make noodles for birthdays.… It reminds me of the time with my family.”
The zha jiang mian is an absolute must-order, and a dish rarely seen in Portland restaurants. The handmade noodles, which take three people two hours to make 60 portions, are a serious labor of love, and the hard work shows in the noodles’ satisfying elasticity and chew. They’re topped with juicy nuggets of fatty, layered pork belly, a salty and deeply umami fermented bean sauce, and ribbons of crunchy zucchini and carrot; the vegan version boasts shiitake mushrooms and tofu instead.
On the dumpling menu, Ren offers pork and cabbage dumplings—”a super classic combination,” he says—plus celery and beef, and Impossible meat with mushrooms. The house-made wrappers are pleasantly al dente (though perhaps a little thick during this soft-opening stage) and partner well with the soy-garlic dipping sauce. Also available but unsampled as of this time: fried rice made with Chinese sausage, roast duck, or mushrooms and tofu.
The restaurant will close for a brief break from January 26–31, then return for its grand opening on February 1, just in time for Lunar New Year dumplings. In the coming months, Ren plans to add outdoor seating and gradually open the dining room for indoor seating depending on pandemic numbers. Beer and wine are also coming soon.