The newest eatery at Fort Worth's Food Hall at Crockett Row is open, with a shift from its original roots: Monkey King Noodle Company is skipping the noodles and going full on for dumplings.
Owner and chief noodle maker Andrew Chen founded the restaurant in Deep Ellum in 2013 as a place to champion authentic Northern Chinese street food. His menu was inspired by the night markets of China and Taiwan. That included a focus on hand-pulled noodles, which have become kind of a local trend.
But for Fort Worth, he'll narrow the focus to dumplings in a variety of flavors.
Chen says that they're pivoting due to limitations with the location.
"It's just dumplings because we don't have a vent hood, and without a vent hood, we can't make soup," he says. "We had a conversation with the folks who run the food hall, and they said they would still love to have a dumpling shop. So we're doing a simple menu spotlighting dumplings."
They come in an order of 10 dumplings for $9.50, with your choice of pork dumplings with pork, Napa cabbage, and Chinese chives; or vegetarian dumplings with edamame and tofu.
He's also doing wontons: pork wontons in chili sauce, garnished with scallions and cilantro; or mushroom wontons with enoki, wood ear, and oyster mushrooms. Sides include spicy cucumber salad and Napa slaw with scallion vinaigrette.
Monkey King is no stranger to food halls, having previously operated a stand in Legacy Hall, the food hall in Plano. Monkey King also had a restaurant in Carrollton. Both locations closed in 2018.
But he likes food halls as an opportunity to showcase the cuisine. "This is where I came from as a Chinese kid that grew up in Dallas, eating BBQ with chopsticks," he says.