It was an oddly cool and very rainy night. Four friends trekked to Chinatown in search of a perfect dumpling. Diego, the video genius, Lynn, the tour organizer and mama bear, Eryn, the well educated tongue that’s known as “Dumpling/Sweet Bun (bo lo bao)” in China , and Joey, the 14 year old boy we kidnapped in the name of culturing and educating. Dumplings are an important part of NY culture and life. They are important enough to alternately sweat, shiver, and soak regardless of your umbrella. They are happy, doughy little packets of meaty deliciousness, doused in vinegary sauces with gingery tangs and salty goodness. We had big plans to try between 8-10 places. We were completely done after only 6. It might have had something to do with not being able to resist the sesame pancakes either. Or maybe we were just too wet and tired to press on. Either way, I present to you a video roundup of said tour. Each video is around 6 seconds long to satiate your little attention span. I was tardy to the party, a rare occurrence, but easily blamed on the fact that I went to IKEA beforehand. I missed Tasty Dumpling and was told I missed nothing. So there’s that.
Each video starts with a shot of the restaurant, then the dumplings themselves, then us eating them, then the thumbs up or down verdict…OKAY! Press play!
Tasty Dumpling – Pan fried pork dumplings
Around the corner on Mosco street there is a tiny place next to the Thai grocery store that I used to eat at on my break from Chinese class every single day. Great dough to filling ratio, and yummy sauce. You get 5 dumplings for $1.00. ONE DOLLAR!!!! And they sell them frozen, you get like, a bucket for $5. So maybe I am partial to them because of the happy memories I associate with them. Who can say. But I like them the best.
Fried Dumpling- Pan fried pork dumplings
One day my roommate came home with a veggie sesame pancake from this place. It was divine. Best I have ever had. Their dumplings are good, but I wouldn’t say they were the best. Prosperity Dumpling- Pan fried pork dumplings
Prosperity Dumpling – Pan fried pork dumplings
For our final pan fried dumpling we hit Vanessa’s nearby. Their dumplings, unfortunately, while very well spiced, had dough that was oddly chewy and they were very greasy and fell apart. Sadface. We also tried THEIR sesame pancake, and while the pickled veggies were a nice touch, their dough didn’t come close to measuring up, so Prosperity takes the win there.
Vanessa’s Dumplings – Pan fried pork dumplings
Next up, soup dumplings! This is where we ended up tapping out. You get more of these babies in an order, and they’re more filling. This place was decent, but I find that soup dumplings are often too oily for me. Such was the case here. We also missed the thumbs up or down portion of this video but we were all kind of so so about it.
Shanghai Cafe Deluxe – Pork and chive soup dumplings
And that’s because this place was so great. Being that it is right next to Wo-Hop, I have never been inside, as I am always going in to Wo-Hop. I am definitely going to revisit this place ASAP. The dumplings, while not very soupy, had the perfect dough to filling ratio and were cooked TO PERFECTION. Crisp and warm outside perfect for the sesame seeds to stick to, firm weighty bottom, and yummy, not too oily porky centers with lots of chives. Dammit. Now I want more right now.
Shanghai Asian Manor – Pork and chive soup dumplings
Afterwards, we may or may not have stopped by my favorite finale establishment, Chinatown Ice Cream Factory to have my favorite ice cream, Zen Butter. A peanut and sesame ice cream. Although I almost tried the game of cones….but I am in to plainer flavors. I might just have to make sesame ice cream for the competition next year!
All in all it was a truly wonderful and wet evening, and I went home looking more like a happy dumpling than ever.
PS – Try making your own vegetarian version, or just learn how to fold them – Veggie Dumplings!