Serious Eats: New York

The Best Fried Dumplings in Chinatown, NYC

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

The Winners!

#1: Tasty Dumpling

‪54 Mulberry Street‬, New York NY (map); (212) 349-0070

#2: Prosperity Dumpling

46 Eldridge Street, New York NY (map); (212) 343-0683

#3: Vanessa's Dumpling House

118 Eldridge Street, New York NY (map); (212) 625-8008;

I'm in love with dumplings of all kinds. From Shanghainese steamed xiao long bao with their liquid center filling to Japanese gyoza (yeah, my mom's are the best). But my desert island dumpling would be the chewy-crispy, pork-filled, Beijing-style guo tie. The name literally translates to "pot stick," a reference to their tendency to get stuck to the bottom of the cast iron pans they're boiled, then fried in.

You'll see them on the menu as fried dumplings or potstickers, or, if you're from the Boston area, "Peking ravioli" (the name was introduced by Joyce Chen's restaurant in Cambridge). Order them in a sit-down restaurant, and you may pay $4-5 for a half dozen, but hit up one of the specialized dumpling shops in Chinatown, and they come in at under a quarter apiece, making them one of the best delicious-to-dollar deals in New York.

There's a half dozen or so dumpling-specific shops in Chinatown that sell them fried, steamed, or frozen, often along with a couple of noodle soups and crisp sesame pancakes (another one of the best deals in the city). Last week, we visited every dumpling shop in Chinatown to see whose were best.

The Contenders


View Serious Eats Dumpling Map of Chinatown in a larger map
We decided to limit our focus (at least in this tasting... stay tuned!) to those shops in the Chinatown neighborhood of Manhattan. All of the shops specialize in dumplings, and all of them make their own dough and filling on-premises. We didn't consider any sit-down restaurants in our lineup—cheap, fast, and fresh is our goal here. Almost all of the dumplings cost $1.00 per order, and the upper limit of our price range was $1.25.

Here's our lineup (In alphabetical order)

  1. China North Dumpling ($1 for 5)
  2. Fried Dumpling ($1 for 5)
  3. Inexpensive Delicacies Company ($1 for 4)
  4. Jin Mei Dumpling ($1 for 5)
  5. Prosperity Dumpling ($1 for 5)
  6. Tasty Dumpling ($1.25 for 5)
  7. Vanessa's Dumpling House ($1 for 4)

The Criteria

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Our judging was based on four different factors:

The Winner: Tasty Dumpling

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Though they lacked the super golden-brown crust of Vanessa's or China North, the filling and wrappers at Tasty Dumpling are superior. They've got a nicely gingery filling with well balanced sweetness, and a supreme savoriness from plenty of pork fat and juices. At $1.25 for five, they're also the only dumplings in our tasting that broke the $1 line, so save those extra quarters!

For a full breakdown of the lineup, click through the slideshow above.

More "Best Of"-s!

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