Yesterday my mother took me out to lunch at a restaurant called, Chin Dian on 1500 East Hennepin Avenue. I love trying new restaurants, especially if the cuisine has an Asian influence. Chin Dian has been in the neighborhood for a few years and sits on a small corner lot four blocks off of 35W. The restaurant is owned by a married couple, Thomas and Nina. Their combined backgrounds stem from Malaysia, India and China, blending their cooking flavors and techniques to create a flavor packed menu full of surprises. It is not often you find Vermicelli noodle salad, Sesame Chicken, Nasi Sambal and Samosas all featured on the same menu. For a girl like me, this menu is perfection ;). The interior is small but cozy featuring a colorful bar mural and paper lantern luminaries. They offer beer, wine and serve both lunch and dinner Monday through Friday and Dinner on Saturday. We begin by ordering their 5-spice calamari. After a short wait, the calamari arrives on a place with sauteed scallions, ginger and onion. The calamari are lightly fried and tossed with an intoxicating aroma of sweet and spicy Chinese 5-spice which typically includes star anise, clove, cinnamon, and ground fennel seeds. The calamari were some of the best I have had due to the delicious spice rub and lightly battered calamari leaving you to taste the subtly of the seafood while enjoying the complexity of flavor simultaneously. Next, we order the Chow Mai Fun, consisting of thin rice noodles, onions, bean sprouts, egg and scallions in a house curry sauce. We also order their homemade steamed chicken and chive dumplings. The Chow Mai Fun tastes similar to Singapore noodles with a slightly richer, spicier curry- delish. I am a dumpling fanatic, leading to harsher criticism on the faint nuances of dumpling making. The dumplings served to us at Chin Dian hit on every note. They were delicate, light, flavorful and paired with a perfectly balanced soy dipping sauce. It is easy to taste the difference between a fresh dumpling rolled in fresh wrappers, placed in a steamer seconds before plating and a pre-packaged frozen dumpling de-thawed seconds before they arrive kicking and screaming to your plate. I was impressed by all three dishes I sampled as well as the swift and kind service we received. I will be returning just as soon as I can convince my husband join my for a sweet and spicy dinner date ;).