One bite of these dumplings, and you’ll realize you’re not in Southern China anymore. The searing, mind-clearing heat is the giveaway, a bird’s-eye chili burn that would be as foreign in Guangdong province as the stink of a good blue cheese. These shumai channel the fishy and fiery components of Southeast Asian cooking, not the clean, direct flavors of Cantonese dim sum. If the laab filling isn’t pungent enough, the dumplings sit in a light fish sauce and come sprinkled with toasted rice, fried garlic, fried shallots, pickled chiles and cilantro. Not Cantonese, not Thai, not Cambodian, the dish is a brilliant fusion all its own.
$7. 1351 H St. NE. 202-838-9972. maketto1351.com.