Noodles tend to get the most attention in the foodie scene, but it's high time the oft ignored but just as delicious appetizer gets its time in the limelight.
Dumplings are the staple you'll find in almost every Asian restaurant and they come in as many varieties as you can imagine.
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Whether they're steamed, pan fried, boiled or fried these tasty treats are a perfect snack in between meals. Below are some of the top places for a quick bite.
Mimi Cheng's Dumplings
179 2nd Avenue
Every month there's a new flavor of dumplings, which means you'll never get bored of eating at Mimi Cheng's. While the dumpling of the month might tempt your due to its novelty, the restaurant has a very solid menu that will keep you coming back for more.
You can order either 6 or 8 pieces and get them pan-fried or boiled.
All of the ingredients are organic and locally-sourced so you know you're getting top quality dumplings for the price. Vegetarian? No problem! They've got veggie dumplings for you as well. The space is small and fills up quickly so you'll probably want to eat these dumplings on the go.
42 Mulberry Street
This little hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Chinatown definitely lives up to its name. While there's more on the menu than just dumplings, you definitely want to try out the namesake. They've got excellent boiled and fried dumplings. Most have meat in them but they do offer a vegetable option as well. You get your money's worth as well.
For just $1.00 you get five pieces of pork and chive dumplings. If you fall in love with one of the flavors you can buy a whole bag of frozen dumplings for as low as $8 for 50 depending on what option you choose. Now that's what I call a great deal! If you're still hungry after your dumplings, try out some of the noodle soups or dim sum. This is a cash only place so make sure to pull out some money before visiting.
9 Pell St
Joe's Shanghai is perhaps one of the most already known dumpling go-to-spot on the list and therefore obviously deserves a place on the list. Here's some food rundown you need to try when making a visit. One of the favourites, crab/pork soup dumplings. Have a go at the stemmed pork dumplings or why not the amazing cold noodle with sesame sauce.
Choice is yours, you won't leave disappointed.
Tianjin Dumpling House
41-28 Main Street, Flushing
This basement restaurant is a bit hard to find, but you'll never forget where it is after you've eaten here. If you're looking for some authentic Chinese dumplings, look no further. These will definitely make you question why you've never eaten here before. Not only do they offer the standard pork and chicken options, they also have some more interesting ones like squid and lamb.
What really sets Tianjin apart from other restaurants is in your ability to mix and match meats and vegetables. Sure, you can get the pork and chives, but why not try something like lamb and green squash or beef and bok choy? Whatever pairings you choose, the dumplings will come out perfectly cooked and juicy.
135-02 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing
This joint offers dumplings and wontons, we highly suggest getting both. The menu is quite large so it's probably best to go with a couple friends and trying the different flavors. The most popular option is the spicy wonton. You can get 12 for about $6, making this the perfect place for people who want delicious food on a budget.
The spicy wontons come covered with chili oil and topped with pickled vegetables. Of course, they also offer the more traditional pork, chicken and shrimp dumplings. If you want something else, they also have some noodles you can nom on. Like many small Chinese joints, this is cash only.
Lam Zhou Handmade Noodle
144 East Broadway
Maybe not as known as the others but Lam Zhou Handmade Noodles are just insanely good, period. If you are into dumplings and you haven't been to this great spot before then its time to make amend, go here and eat now! You will have to look closely on the meny to find these delicious dumplings but when you do you can't go wrong.
It's not only good, its cheap as well. $2 for 6 and $3 for 10 give you what could be the best value on NYC's dumplings scene.
Xi'an Famous Food
67 Bayard St
Even if Xi'an Famous Food might be best known for their lamb burger, which is btw absolutely delicious, they also happen to serve awesome dumplings. If you haven't tried their spicy & sour spinach dumplings, yes you heard right, head there now and try them asap.
Oh, and while you are there be sure to try their hand-pulled-noddles as they come highly recommended by regulars, just be sure to eat them fresh at the spot (also recommended by Xi'an Famous themselves).
Lhasa Fast Food
37-50 74th Street
China isn't the only place that serves amazing dumplings. Tibet has their own breed of dumplings called momos. While these might look like typical soup dumplings, the taste and texture are completely different: the skin is much thicker and it is packed with meat and vegetables.
One bite into the momo and you'll wonder why you haven't tried it earlier. Lhasa cooks it to perfection so you get the percent amount of chewiness from the skin with bursts of juice from the meat. The menu is quite small, but offers a full range of dishes like Tibetan noodles, Phinsha and soup dumplings.
Nom Wah Tea Parlor
13 Doyers St.
If you would ask a local dim-sum expert of what place to go to in order to get the best dim-sum (dumplings for the novice), one of the spots will definitely be Nom Wah Tea Parlor. They have been in business since the 1920's and its easy to understand why they are still going strong when you have the chance to sit down and enjoy their food experience. Its a no-hustle, friendly experience that sometimes could be difficult to find when looking for dumplings around NYC. Also check out the Great Chinese Restaurants in Chinatown New York list!
When you are here try the Shrimp and snow-pea-leaf dumplings and shrimp and pork shiu mai as they come recommended by regulars.
369 7th Avenue, Brooklyn
This Park Slope restaurant offers some pretty amazing Pan-Asian food, but perhaps their most innovative dish is their pretzel dumpling. Yes, you read right. As you might have guessed, this hybrid combines the traditional Chinese filling and wraps it in a chewy, salty pretzel.
It might not seem like it would work, but the combination somehow blends in perfect harmony. If you're looking for something a bit more filling, try their crab fried rice or bacon pad thai.
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For the more curious one: What is Dim Sum?
Not sure what Dim Sum food really is, well you are not alone. It has to be said though you don't really need to know to enjoy all their flavours but sometimes if makes to whole experience if you at least have an understanding of its background.
It all started with the first Dim Sum houses in Canton (southern China) and they were tiny, often roadside, establishment that also served tea for the tired workers and travellers. It was literarily a tea snack initially that then, due to its popularity, evolved to the main focus of a meal. As you might already know they've always been served as small bite sized portions often in a steamer basket rolled out on steam table trolleys.
Its easy to understand that this have become a family weekend brunch treat, almost a ritual, among the Chinese population, especially southern areas and Hong Kong. A traditional Dim Sum brunch always consist of different types, and there are plenty, of steamed buns (cha siu bao) filled with barbecue pork, dumplings and noodle rolls (mainly rice noodles).
There are no rules of how to best experience Dim Sum but as a tip do Share with your friends and always Start with tea!