Zoe Ma Ma

by Andrew Woodman on April 24, 2011

2010 10th Street
Boulder, Colorado 80302
Zoe Ma Ma’s website

gluten-free, vegetarian, and organic-lover friendly!

Zoe Ma Ma’s Chinese food is definitely Boulder bent: they are very health oriented. This makes dim sum intake limited by the fact that it is priced per dumpling, which makes it relatively pricey to what I’m used to.  Their noodle and rice dishes use the same healthy/pricy ingredients, but for their size they are actually really decently priced.  Go figure.

I started off with a dim sum plate, and got one of each of the following (pictured left to right from top to bottom): Original Potsticker [$1.25], Pork Bao [$2.79], Vegan Dumpling [$1.25] and Sao Mai [$1.25].

I thoroughly enjoyed 3/4 of this plate.  The Original Potsticker was easily my favorite, and I also enjoyed the Vegan Dumpling (filled with tofu, shitake, garlic) and the Sao Mai (steamed pork wrapped in wonton paper)… but the Pork Bao—which by the way is my favorite dim sum item—was easily a disgrace to all steamy buns.  The “fluffy” outside was barely that, as it was dry and had the consistency of a slightly overcooked piece of bread.  It also wasn’t sweet in the slightest, and the organic wheat really just made it super mealy.  It also took me more than one bite to get to the marinated pork middle. By the time I got to that point, I was so disappointed that I don’t even remember what it tasted like.  And this is their most expensive piece of dim sum?!  Shameful.

I got the Za Jian Mian, which I was told is their most popular dish.  It’s a classic Northern Chinese hot noodle dish, that uses fresh organic egg noodles and is topped with ground pork, “sauce,” green onions, and julienned cucumbers and carrots.  The noodles were super yummy and had a perfect consistency and texture for slurping.  The ground pork was good, as they use all-natural meats, but it was slightly overcooked and thus a little bit dry.  The sauce didn’t only add brothy + citrusy + spicy flavors to the dish, but it was seriously a necessary tool to assist me with all that slightly dry pork.


So they have a pretty solid noodle dish, and a botched Bao, but at least they have the most praiseworthy selection of dim sum in town (that I have seen… please tell me if there are any others, Lollicup doesn’t count).  I also really liked their Chinese newspaper decorated tables, which further reminded me that I still cannot read Chinese.

On top of all this, I guess I have to give them credit for being a healthy Chinese restaurant in America.  Who would have thought that was possible? Welcome to Boulder.


love this place

by dan on April 25, 2011 at 6:36 pm. #

lolicup on the hill has great dim sum

by dan on April 25, 2011 at 6:36 pm. #

Hello Andrew,
Thank you for your review. I will check with Ma Ma about the overcooked pork. Please come back again and let me know when; it will be my treat. Hint, Friday and Saturday’s Roast Duck Wonton Noodle Soup is one of my favorites.
Regarding the bao, I feel the comparison is like comparing Wonder Bread versus local artisan bread. This is by no means a slight to many bao lovers. However, I think it’s important to understand that most restaurants buy and serve frozen factory produced bao. The characteristics of those factory bao are the cake like fluffiness and the candied FD&C #40 red colored pork. The savory bao at Zoe Ma Ma are handmade personally by my mother without preservatives or food coloring.

by Edwin Zoe on April 29, 2011 at 9:33 am. #

Thanks for reading!

The Roast Duck Wonton Noodle Soup sounds amazing, I’ll definitely have to stop in and try it sometime soon.

re: bao — Yes I have been to restaurants where it is pretty obvious that they serve the frozen kind (Lollicup…), but I’ve been to very nice dim sum restaurants where I’m pretty sure they don’t. And if they do, I ate a lot of bao in China. (If I was served frozen bao on all those occasions in China, the world is officially upside down.) I appreciate the local artisan characteristics of Ma Ma’s handcrafted bao, but maybe I didn’t as much when I was actually eating it…

Thanks for the clarification though!

by Andrew Woodman on April 29, 2011 at 11:23 am. #

As for my return being your treat, it is my last day writing for this blog. However, if you are still willing to grant that, I would love to take you up on it. I’d spread the word like wildfire, too. /^_^\ Maybe that’s a bad metaphor, here in Boulder… but you know what I mean.

Let me know how I should contact you. We could do it via twitter, you guys are @Zoe_Ma_Ma, right? I’m @wwooddmmaann.

by Andrew Woodman on April 29, 2011 at 9:48 pm. #

Please do take me up on the offer. Shoot me a email info@zoemama.com and we’ll set it up.

by Edwin Zoe on April 30, 2011 at 10:54 am. #