Tucked away in quiet residential neighborhoods across Dubai, Little Lamb has become a beloved destination for authentic Chinese cuisine. With its family recipes and dedication to quality, Little Lamb brings a taste of China to the UAE. This guide covers everything you need to know about visiting Little Lamb.
Overview of Little Lamb Chinese Restaurants
Little Lamb got its start in 2005 when founder Mr. Xiao Wei Yang opened the first location in International City. Focusing on hearty northern Chinese fare from Mr. Yang’s hometown region, Little Lamb struck a chord with Dubai’s Chinese community seeking the comforting flavors of home.
The restaurant soon expanded to multiple locations as its reputation for excellent, affordable Chinese food grew. Today there are five Little Lamb branches across International City, Dubai Investment Park, and Discovery Gardens.
While Dubai has no shortage of Chinese restaurants, Little Lamb stands out for its authentic dishes crafted just like in China. The menu focuses on popular northern Chinese specialties like noodles, dumplings, stews, and classic stir fry combinations.
Prices stay low compared to most Dubai restaurants so entire families can enjoy Little Lamb’s meals. No-frills decor and a casual, family-style ambiance match the comforting dishes.
Little Lamb’s Authentic Chinese Cuisine
Here’s a closer look at the authentic regional Chinese flavors that make Little Lamb so beloved:
House Special Noodles
Slurping noodles is mandatory at Little Lamb. Their Shanghai noodles, zhajiang noodles, dan dan noodles and other house special noodle bowls capture the essence of classic northern Chinese comfort food. Expect slurpable noodles in deeply savory sauces.
All their dumplings are folded in-house for supreme freshness. Scallion pancakes sandwiched with beef fill steamed dumplings, pan fried pork dumplings, and Chongqing spicy dumplings satisfy all cravings.
Signature Stewed Meats
Braised beef stewed until fall-apart tender, dongpo pork belly simmered in its own fats, and five-spice spareribs are just some of the must-try meat dishes, many named after their geographic origins.
Ma Po Tofu
Spicy, numbing Sichuan ma po tofu is a standout starter, with soft tofu blanketed in a fiery sauce of fermented beans, chilies and ground pork. It shows off Little Lamb’s mastery of Chinese regional cooking.
This iconic northern Chinese dish features lamb stir fried with whole cumin seeds and chilies for intense, exotic flavor. Little Lamb’s take on spice-infused lamb is a guest favorite.
Plentiful Veggie Sides
To complement the entrees, an array of classic vegetable stir-fries like garlic shoots, Hunan potato shreds, and eggplant with garlic are prepared to order. Don’t skip the greens!
What the Reviews Say About Little Lamb
With hundreds of glowing reviews, Little Lamb has earned a outstanding reputation. Here’s a sample of what happy customers are saying:
“The best Chinese food I’ve found in Dubai! My family loves their noodle and dumpling dishes prepared just like you’d find in China.”
“Authentic flavors and very reasonable prices keep me coming back to Little Lamb. The ma po tofu, cumin lamb and scallion pancake wraps are my go-to orders.”
“From the steamed dumplings to the spicy Sichuan green beans to the shanghai noodles, you can’t go wrong picking dishes at Little Lamb.”
“The cozy atmosphere reminds me of family-run restaurants back home in China. You can tell the food is made with care here.”
“Don’t be fooled by the simple decor and menu – the cooking at Little Lamb rivals what I had at Chinese restaurants in Beijing and Shanghai.”
With scores of 4.5+ stars across review sites like Google and TripAdvisor, Little Lamb has clearly earned the praise and loyalty of Dubai’s Chinese community.
What to Expect When Visiting Little Lamb
From the dining experience to costs and more, here are tips on what to expect when you visit Little Lamb:
- Locations – Five branches in International City, Dubai Investment Park and Discovery Gardens. Easily accessible residential areas with plenty of free parking.
- Ambiance – Simple Chinese restaurant decor. Open kitchens give a glimpse of chefs hand-pulling noodles and folding dumplings. Tables often pushed together to accommodate large groups.
- Service – Friendly and efficient but limited English. Servers can recommend popular dishes for first-timers.
- Prices – Very affordable, especially for Dubai. Noodles, dumplings, starters from AED 15-35. Stew and stir-fry combos AED 40-60. Great value for families.
- What to wear – Ultra casual. T-shirts, shorts, flip flops are common among patrons.
- Reservations – Not needed. Show up when hungry as tables turn over quickly.
- Takeaway – Call-in to order takeaway. Dishes travel well for enjoying Little Lamb’s favorites at home.
Pro Tips for Eating at Little Lamb
Follow these expert tips to get the most of our your Little Lamb dining experience:
- Ask servers for recommendations if overwhelmed by the enormous menu. They’ll point you to popular dishes.
- Come hungry and order liberally. It’s meant for family-style sharing and sampling a variety of items.
- Dishes come out as prepared. Don’t be shy to dig in or flag down servers if you need utensils or anything else.
- Cash only at some branches. Call ahead to check or come prepared with cash for a seamless payment.
- Prices stay constant so don’t worry about “tourist” markups. Enjoy incredible value compared to other Dubai restaurants.
- Bring a Mandarin translator app on your phone if you want to converse more deeply with the staff about dishes.
- Save room for Jiaozi (dumplings) which are addictive once you start popping them!
Frequently Asked Questions About Little Lamb
What are Little Lamb’s most popular dishes?
The dan dan noodles, signature braised beef, scallion pancake dumpling wraps, dongpo pork belly, cumin lamb, and ma po tofu tend to be diners’ favorites across the board.
Do they take reservations?
No reservations needed. Just stop by when you’re hungry! Waiting times are minimal except on major holidays.
Is Little Lamb good for kids?
Definitely! The casual ambiance and affordable prices make Little Lamb an excellent choice for families wanting to introduce kids to Chinese cuisine.
Is there an English menu?
Locations have menus in English and Chinese. Servers also have good recommendations for confused first-timers. Pointing works too!
Is Little Lamb spicy?
They can adjust spice to your taste. Many dishes like ma po tofu and Chongqing chicken are authentically spicy. Ask for mild versions if you can’t handle the heat.
Does Little Lamb have vegetarian options?
While their forte is meat and noodles, you can find many veggie side dishes. Ask for vegetable dumpling fillings too. Simply convey “no meat” to servers.
Can I take home leftovers?
Absolutely, they provide takeaway containers. Leftovers retain well for enjoying Little Lamb at home.
Is Little Lamb halal?
Yes, Little Lamb is halal certified at all locations so anyone can enjoy their food.
What are the best dishes for takeaway?
Signature noodles, dumplings, stews and stir fries all travel well for takeaway. Their flavors even improve as leftovers!
Is there parking?
Yes, branches have private parking lots since they’re based in residential areas. Parking is readily available.
The Essential Menu Items to Try at Little Lamb
To decide what to order at Little Lamb, keep these must-try dishes on your radar:
- Dan Dan Noodles – Slippery noodles blanketed in the restaurant’s addictive savory-spicy sesame sauce punctuated with chili oil.
- Scallion Pancake Beef Dumpling Wraps – Flaky fried scallion pancakes encasing succulent beef and chive dumplings make a heavenly starter.
- Cumin Lamb – This icon of northern Chinese cuisine packs intense aromatic flavor from toasting whole cumin seeds with lamb and peppers.
- Dongpo Pork Belly – Forks-tender braised pork belly lacquered in a sweet soy glaze honors a legendary Hangzhou dish.
- Ma Po Tofu – Silky tofu smothered in a piquant sauce of fermented beans, ground pork, and tongue-numbing Sichuan peppercorns.
- Xiao Long Bao – Juicy soup-filled dumplings burst with savory broth when you take a bite. Carefully crafted here.
- Braised Beef Noodles – Slow-cooked beef and noodles stewed in a five-spice infused broth for hours = soul-warming comfort.
- Chongqing Chicken – Hot chilies and peppercorns electrify morsels of fried chicken in this fiery Sichuan specialty.
- Shanghai Noodles – Chewy thick noodles tangled with soy sauce braised pork, cabbage and garlic chives.
- Scallion Bubble Pancakes – Buttery seared dough with crunchy scallion bits is the perfect vessel for dipping in sweet bean sauce.
How to End Your Meal at Little Lamb
While not a traditional Chinese dessert restaurant, Little Lamb offers the perfect sweet ending to your meal:
**Mango Pancakes** – Chinese street food-inspired, fresh mangos get wrapped in a thin crepe with condensed milk drizzled over top. Sweet, delicious and refreshing!
The aroma of warming spices and sounds of noodles being hand-pulled will lure you back to Little Lamb again and again. You’ll find a taste of home at this modest Dubai restaurant serving northern Chinese soul food.