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Chinese eatery Tiger Dumpling set to open this week in Clarendon

A new restaurant specializing in Chinese dumplings will celebrate its grand opening later this week in Clarendon.

Tiger Dumpling is slated for an official opening this Friday. It joins a handful of restaurants, including O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub and Stone Hot Pizza, in a retail strip along the 3200 block of Washington Blvd.

Last month, ARLnow spotted “coming soon” signs outside Tiger Dumpling and its next-door neighbor Izakaya 68, both owned by 20-year Arlington resident Leopold Liao and Maryland-based Ivea Restaurant Group. Ivea also owns Gong-Cha Tea Shop in Rosslyn and Gyu-San BBQ in Ballston.

The grand opening Friday comes after Tiger Dumpling held a soft opening for friends and family over the weekend. Starting next Monday, Oct. 30, the restaurant will be open Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

A native of China, Liao moved to the United States more than two decades ago. Eager to make a mark in the food scene, he first operated a food truck, Hot People Food, in Arlington in the early 2010s, serving modern Asian cuisine.

Although the food truck is no longer in operation, Liao has opened multiple D.C. establishments, including bubble tea shop E-Tea and ramen bar Reren Lamen.

Liao, an H-B Woodlawn graduate, started looking across the Potomac at Arlington once more after the pandemic because the prospect of opening another restaurant in D.C. had become too pricey.

After some convincing from his wife and children to stay closer to home, Liao approached his business partner Ivea with an idea for a restaurant specializing in dumplings and wheat-based dishes native to Inner Mongolia, where his family is from.

“If you look at the menu, you realize it’s different than other Chinese restaurants… we don’t do southern Chinese style, so like General Tso chicken, beef broccoli — we have none of those,” Liao said.

Those dishes are Western takes on traditional Cantonese cuisine but they dominate the Chinese food landscape in the U.S. Liao aims to rival this by introducing different flavors to Arlington’s Asian food scene.

“The main thing we focus on is dumplings with a different filling,” he said. “We have pork, chicken, lamb, beef, fish or shrimp.”

Diners can also watch chefs handcraft the dumplings from behind a small, glass-enclosed preparation station.

“If people want to learn, they can take a look how we make them,” Liao said.

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