Pel Meni means “ear bread” in Russian, and is a staple in Russian culture. Almost every restaurant and home makes Pel Meni to eat, although each uses a different recipe. This dish is said to have arrived to Russia from China because it was originally served with black pepper. It is made for the working poor, and people all over the country rely on it for many of their calories. Washington has a few dumpling joints, but none can hold a candle to the cult-like appeal of Pel Meni Dumpling Tzar in Fremont. It has been named one of the top five best dumpling restaurants in Seattle. This is for good reason. Pel Meni is constantly updating their menu to include new potato and beef dumplings, toppings, and now dessert dumplings. This year, they were at the Northwest Folklife Festival at Seattle Center and unveiled their dessert dumpling with or without ice cream! There are even gluten-free dumplings for you to enjoy!
Each dumpling is made by taking the special dough and putting into a cookiecutter-like contraption. The fillings are placed on top of the cut holes, and then another layer of dough is placed on top, and the whole thing is pushed through the cutter-making the dumpling. Then they are boiled over a stove, and ta-da! You get dumpling goodness.
Pel Meni is opening up a new location and a food truck, so you can find these guys everywhere! Their current location is filled with Russian art and is hidden behind Lenin Square, making for a truly cult-like feel. The staff is friendly and the patio is very welcoming.