Dumplings have quickly become one of my favorite food. Dumplings began replacing burritos as my go-to meal when I couldn’t exactly decide if I wanted to eat something sweet or savory. A little bit of both? Obviously Chinatown — the dumpling capital of New York — would be the #1 choice to go to for this challenge, but it’s getting cold outside and I don’t want to venture more than 10 minutes away from my home this month. So, I journeyed over to the East Village to see which dumpling joint was worth trying.
Presenting: The Dumpling Challenge
Dumpling Spot #1: Vanessa’s Dumplings
Where: 220 E. 14 Street
I always passed by Vanessa’s on the bus to Union Square in the morning and finally decided to give a go. There was a pretty long line (which I always think is a good sign) but luckily it moved quickly. I scanned the menu for vegetarian options and decided on the steamed and pan-fried veggie dumplings (because why not?). Unfortunately, they were out of those, which, let’s be real, were the only ones I really wanted. So I settled for the steamed instead.
Suppleness: This is the only word I could think to best describe dumplings. They were pretty heavy — veggies were bursting at their little seams. I usually enjoy that, but for some reason these just didn’t do anything for me. I guess once you’ve had one veggie dumpling you’ve had them all. The dipping sauce was just okay, but a tad bland for me. Next time when I go back I might try the buns instead, and make sure they have pan-fried ones as well.
Price: About $6 for 6 Dumplings
Dumpling Spot #2: Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings
Where: 179 2nd Avenue
About a week before Thanksgiving I was jonesing for some pre-holiday fixins: turkey, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, cornbread, the list goes on and on. I decided to get some dumplings at Mimi Cheng’s to fill that cold hole New York was digging in my stomach. I once again went with my classic veggie order and decided to also try the Thanksgiving dumpling to curb that craving. Filled with turkey, stuffing, and a cranberry sauce dipping side — just what I was looking for.
Suppleness: I’m disappointed I didn’t just get two orders of Thanksgiving dumplings because they completely overshadowed the veggie. They were warm, substantial, savory, and really helped me get through my last few days in the city before I left to go home for Thanksgiving. I think the veggie dumplings were good too, but I honestly can’t remember. That Thanksgiving one took the cake.
Price: 6 for $8
Move over Vanessa’s. Mimi Cheng’s has really changed my life with these Thanksgiving dumplings. In fact, the other day my co-worker asked me to please not mention them to him again because I talk about the “amazing Thanksgiving dumplings I had” at least once a day. I’m not sure what the monthly dumpling is for December but it will be hard to top November’s.