Dumplings and Carb Slabs from Chinese Food

"The name translates to 'Delicious Beautiful,' or, more literally, 'Saliva Beautiful.'"

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The first time I heard of Chinese Food was on the subway. I was talking about food (as I am wont to do) with a friend while riding the L train and another passenger who overheard us asked, "Have you guys heard of Chinese Food?"

Chinese Food? We thought she was joking, but some online searching revealed that there is a place called Chinese Food. My mom translated the sign as Jin Mei* Potstickers (the other characters say "Northern style/taste" and "handmade"), but it was the super-generic name that enticed me to visit the handmade dumpling shop.

Although it may not close until around 8:30 p.m., you should get there earlier if you want fried dumplings. When I visited around 7:30 p.m., they had already cleaned out their fryers and were only boiling dumplings. (Instead of cooking, they seemed to be focused on making more dumplings; we could hear them furiously chopping vegetables in the back of the restaurant.) Not that I have anything against boiled dumplings, but I was a little sad that I couldn't fulfill my hankering for fried, crispy dumpling skins filled with juicy pork-y nubs.

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The standard dumpling is pork and chive, usually a fried version, but in this instance boiled. Although it may not have been special, the filling was satisfyingly moist and flavorful, and the handmade skin soft with a bit of chew. You get five for $1; there's nothing to complain about.

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I liked the wontons in chili oil more than the pork and chive. For one thing, they came topped with chopped cilantro—if I could, I would top most things with cilantro. The pool of chili oil on the plate, although not all that spicy, was a welcome addition. I also liked that the wonton skins were slightly thinner than the ones used for the boiled dumplings.

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The scallion pancake was a much larger slab of wheat than we were expecting. It's fine if you want to munch on an soft inch-thick carb chunk, but the greasiness quickly made it feel like a brick in my belly. Stick with the dumplings.

I wouldn't go out of my way to visit Chinese Food, but if I were in the area I would go back. Preferably at a time when they're frying dumplings.

* My mom explained that the name translates to "Delicious Beautiful," or, more literally, "Saliva Beautiful."

Chinese Food (or Jin May Potstickers)

25B Henry Street, New York, NY 10002 (b/n Catherine Street and Market Street; map) 212-608-8962