The dumpling is the ideal meal. Every culture has its own delicious variation of this pastry, which is tenderly wrapped in dough and filled with a sweet or savoury centre: Russian pelmeni, Chinese xiao long bao, and Vietnamese banh bt lc are all available in New York City. You can arrange a soup dumpling crawl around the five boroughs while still having plenty of money left over since certain dumplings are among our favourite inexpensive foods.
Tianjin Dumpling House
This Main Street institution is located in the Golden Shopping Mall’s popular food court. The majority of dumplings are cooked to order, and flavours available include beef and turnip, lamb and squash, and pork and chive.
Location: 41-28 Main St., Flushing, 11355, Basement Store #33, Golden Shopping Mall
Crossroads: at 41st Rd
Nom Wah Tea Parlor
The oldest dim sum and tea house in New York City, Wilson Tang’s, serves food made to order throughout the day. The popular shrimp and snow pea leaf dumplings are wrapped in slightly translucent rice wrappers and are very light and flavorful.
If you aren’t from Flushing, Queens, the renowned wontons with spicy sauce, item no. 6 on the menu, are enough to entice you there. This revered dumpling sanctuary offers 12 wispy-skinned pork and cabbage wontons floating in a surprisingly mild sea of chile oil, roasted chilies, and pickled greens for a fair price.
Fans of dumplings go to this little restaurant to get the No. 6: On a Styrofoam dish, a dozen pork wontons ($7) are presented, drizzled with roasted chile oil and topped with a scattering of chopped pickled veggies. It’s the one meal that everyone appears to choose, despite there being more than 30 options on the menu, and with good reason.
135-02 Roosevelt Avenue, New York 11354
Crossroads: at Prince St.
Shu Jiao Fu Zhou
Without stopping by this key location on the Lower East Side, no dumpling crawl would be complete. Insiders go to the simple, get-in-and-get-out restaurant for reasonably priced dishes of homemade pork and chives dumplings. You can get a plate of six for less than $3, so you may as well spend an additional $1 for ten.
Location: 118 Eldridge St., Manhattan, NY 10002 Intersection: between Grand and Broome Sts.
Both the fried pelmeni, a Russian dumpling drenched in butter, and the manty, a spicy meat-stuffed dumpling, are available in this Uyghur café. Even in a large metropolis like New York, it might be difficult to get Uyghur cuisine, but Brighton Beach provides a sample of the chewy, hand-pulled dough.
One of the few venues in New York to obtain exotic lagman noodles, this Brighton Beach restaurant specialises in hard-to-find halal food from the Uyghur and Uzbek communities. The meal is a hearty stew made with meat and broth from lamb, potatoes, veggies, and long, chewy noodles. It is inspired by both Chinese and Uzbeki cuisine. Borjomi, a well-known brand of mineral water from Georgia, is a great way to finish everything off.
1141 Brighton Beach Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11235
This Fulton Mall outpost specialises in authentic Shanghai street cuisine. The substantial blue crab and pork soup dumplings are served four to an order, each one loaded with a piping hot mixture of sweet and savoury crab and pork and tightly wrapped.
Yaso Tangbao serves authentic Shanghai street cuisine on a quiet side street in Downtown Brooklyn’s Fulton Mall neighbourhood. Three partners in their 20s from Nanxiang look up to the venerable Chef Zongxing Tu, the former executive chef of Joe’s Shanghai, who acts as their ‘yaso’ (uncle). The partners wanted to introduce the chef’s renowned xiao long bao steamed soup dumplings to a region that was expected to see tremendous expansion. It makes sense since the counter-order, informal restaurant is perfect for the steady flow of employees from the surrounding municipal offices to get a cheap, full lunch. On a recent Sunday evening at 7 p.m., all seven of the restaurant’s long, wooden communal tables were full, indicating that the word has spread among the locals as well. Be sure to start your meal with the blue crab and pork soup dumplings ($6.95), which shimmy on the special spoon given for their pleasure. Chef Zongxing is kind of a big deal among aficionados of Chinese dumplings. A fresh surge of saline Maryland blue crab broth rushes across your palate when you gently bite off the orange-coloured tip. To get to the filling of ground pork, sip it up. A tiny blonde girl yells out from a few seats down when part of her delectable soup spills, and she frantically raises the bamboo steamer over her spoon in an effort to collect it. The pan-fried pork baos ($5.65), which are tangerine-sized buns of soft white dough with a succulent pork filling in a little reservoir of broth and are sprinkled with black sesame seeds and a delightful sheen of grease, should not be missed.
The chicken sauerkraut spring rolls ($4), which are another intriguing addition to the menu, with a crunchy outside and delightfully acidic inside. The use of sauerkraut recalls the chef’s time in Germany and Switzerland in the late 1980s as well as the pickled Asian cabbage that is often served in Shanghai. The little sweet and sour pork ribs ($5.95) are served with a passel of vibrant green chives and are coated in a glaze made of soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar. The soy garlic fried rice with chicken fillet ($9.95) combines a breaded chicken fillet that is evocative of panko-coated Japanese katsu cutlets with crispy, brown-red fried rice. A chicken broth and thin vermicelli soup noodles are additional options for the fried chicken fillet ($9.85). The wonderfully soft, braised pork meatballs over rice with eggs ($11.95) are the main draw, however. They are almost unnaturally juicy and fluffy, like biting into a cushion of pork, and are as large as Nonna’s meatballs with Sunday sauce. The sautéed greens and white rice that come with it transform the dish into what one may envision Chinese comfort food to be.
Location: 148 Lawrence St., Brooklyn 11201
Vegetarian Dim Sum House
This vegetarian-focused dim sum restaurant provides a change in an area where ducks and spareribs are plentiful. Three of its large spinach dumplings are delivered with each order, and their lush, leaf-like covering serves as an excellent preview of what to expect inside: hefty pieces of minced spinach flavoured with liberal amounts of malty Chinese vinegar.
Vegetarians will be pleased to enter this meat-free oasis after strolling by Chinatown store displays exhibiting shimmering ducks and flopping fish—even if the dark-green carpeting and pale-green walls remind them of a corporate office. Excellent and realistic mock-meat options are available on the menu, such as exquisite “shrimp” dumplings (made of rice flour, yams, and tofu), crunchy, slightly sweet sesame “chicken” (deep-fried bean curd skin), and Peking “spareribs” (yams covered in a spicy sauce). Order a fresh fruit smoothie instead of dessert; kiwi is our favourite.
24 Pell Street, New York, 10013
Crossroads: between Mott St. and the Bowery
Van Da is the newest Vietnamese eatery to open in the East Village. It is situated on East 4th Street between Avenue A and B. However, Van Da, a venture of restaurateur Yen Ngo and chef Hannah Wong, a former employee of Gramercy Tavern, does not provide pho and banh mi. You may discover less popular and more difficult-to-find Vietnamese cuisine here. For $9, you can get Banh Bot Loc, which is shrimp and pork tapioca dumplings. For $9, you can get sauteed morning glory with fermented soybean and garlic. For $18 you can get grilled squid with Chinese sausage, hot peppers, and rice cake. For $24 you can get Cha Ca La Vong (Turmeric Branzino) with fresh dill, bun noodles, and seasonal vegetables. For $8 you can get taro rice pudding for dessert.
Vietnamese dumplings known as banh bt lc that are encased in translucent tapioca paper are the star of Van Da’s menu. They are stuffed with shrimp and pork and are served on banana leaves. The tapioca coating gives them a unique crunch. Another must-order item is fried dumplings, which include flavorful mung beans hidden behind a coating of golden mochi and crunchy onions.
Location: 234 E 4th St
10009 New York
Kings Co Imperial LES
There is now a Manhattan location for this popular Williamsburg Chinese eatery. Order tried-and-true classics like salt-steamed veal ribs with red lantern chilies or chicken wontons with sesame sauce, as well as novel specialties like wok-seared long dumplings and imitation eel.
Get the vegan bok choy potstickers, the wok-seared long dumplings with Berkshire pork, and the broiler chicken dumplings with cinnamon red oil.
Location: 168 1/2 Delancey Street, New York 10002
Kai Feng Fu Dumpling House
In Sunset Park, there is no lack of no-frills, inexpensive dumplings, but this dollar dumpling stand is among the greatest in all of New York. Pay a reasonable fee for those fatty, crunchy on the exterior and steaming on the inside pig dumplings.
The name-brand potstickers are the greatest value at this diner, since the majority of the items don’t cost more than $5. Four pan-fried beauties consisting of rounds of succulent pork and leek wrapped in delicate homemade wrappers are available for one dollar.
Location: 4801 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 11220 Cross Street: at 48th St Telephone: 718-437-3542
The Cantonese restaurant offers top-notch sha tin chicken congee. This Chinatown noodle shop, famous for its wonton noodle soup, stuffs an entire shrimp into each pork wonton made in the Hong Kong way. The wontons float in the soup and are surrounded by springy yellow egg noodles, creating a delightful vessel for soaking up the chicken broth.
13 Mott Street, New York, 10013
the intersection of Worth and Mosco Streets
Tim Ho Wan
People in New York have lined up for wackier dishes like monster milkshakes, rainbow-dyed bagels, and hybrid doughnuts. The snaking lines outside the Tim Ho Wan location in New York at least have the distinction of being there to wait in line for Michelin-level meals. Astonishingly earning a sparkler in 2009 for its freshly made pork buns and translucent shrimp dumplings, the dim-sum juggernaut from chef-owners Mak Kwai Pui and Leung Fai Keung—which has five locations in its native Hong Kong and another 39 sites worldwide, in places like Indonesia, Thailand, and Australia—became the world’s least-expensive Michelin-starred restaurant.
Not only the food is to blame for the lines: The East Village restaurant’s 60 seats are far less than those at NYC dim-sum giants Jing Fong and Golden Unicorn. Even if you tried, a rolling steam cart wouldn’t fit between the simple lightwood tables. Instead, ordering is a checklist process with 29 options, ranging from the novice-luring shumai to more daring meals like braised chicken feet, churned out from a busy open kitchen and served in the order that they’re ready. (Pro tip: Avoid eating between noon and 2 p.m. during peak lunch hours to avoid huge lines and to have your dish of dumplings delivered to your table carelessly like a Frisbee on a college quad. For more thoughtful treatment, arrive at a more sedate 3 o’clock.)
The BBQ pork buns known as char siu bao ($4.95 for three pieces) are wrapped in a baked, sugar-dusted pastry shell as opposed to the starchy softness of their steamed cousins. The roasted pork is coated in a dark, sticky-sweet sauce in the middle of the bun, but the savoury portion is overpowered by a mass of sugary dough, which is made even sweeter by the granulated sugar on top.
Pan-fried turnip cakes ($4.50) are buttery but a little lifeless on their own; add some heat by dragging them in the accompanying slurry of chilli sauce. The shrimp variant with Chinese chives ($4.75) stands out because it is stuffed with sweet crustacean and crisp onion taste while remaining obediently plump and inflating spectacularly against thin, delicate shells. A little shrimp ball is placed on top of each softened, purple-skinned ring of eggplant ($4.75), providing a quick bite of textural contrast. This dish may be the finest on the menu.
Are the spicy, lotus-leaf-wrapped sticky rice packets ($5.50) or the silky steamed-rice rolls ($4.50) very satisfying? Yes. Are they deserving of a Michelin star or, more contentiously, a wait of several hours in the recent downpour? That is debatable. No matter how well-known or revered a dumpling may be in a city with a vibrant dim-sum culture that dates back a century, it’s difficult to justify the risk of wet clothing and twisted umbrellas.
Location: 85 Fourth Avenue, New York 10003
between East 10th and East 11th Streets
Since its opening two years ago, Mimi Cheng’s Jiaozi Parlor in the East Village has been a favourite among fans of dumplings because of its inventive partnerships and use of local, fresh ingredients. (Anyone up for cheeseburger dumplings?) With this vibrant Nolita offshoot furnished with seafoam-blue tables, potted plants, and framed pineapple photos, sisters Hannah and Marian Cheng build on that success. Pan-fried or steamed Taiwanese dumplings made from a recipe passed down from the Chengs’ mother are still available, but the sisters have added bento-box combinations like the Taipei Tapas (four dumplings, a scallion pancake, shaved red-cabbage salad, house-made pickles) and the Hearty Home (four dumplings, rice, Taiwanese greens with crispy shallots) to the menu.
Location: 380 Broome Street, New York 10003
Crossroads: between Mulberry and Mott Streets
Dim Sum Go Go
This Chinatown dim lunch establishment, where dumplings (more than 24 varieties) are the highlight, is brightened by a red and white colour scheme. The menu is organised into sections like “fried,” “baked,” and “steamed,” making it user-friendly for beginners. To avoid making a difficult choice, get the dim sum platter, which has ten creative delicacies including delicious steamed duck and mushroom dumplings and the unusual, slightly sweet pan fried dumplings stuffed with pumpkin. The cost is a little bit more than at your typical dim sum restaurant. Visit us everyday from 10am to 4pm for a discount, when each dish is $1 less expensive.
Location: 5 East Broadway New York 10038
between Catherine and Oliver Streets, there is a crosswalk