Who doesn’t love dumplings? They’re warm, savory, often filled with pork, and, generally speaking, they can be budget-friendly. You can get them for breakfast with a dim sum meal, for lunch or dinner, and there may be no better late-night food than a steaming hot plate of dumplings. Like many cities, dumplings can be found in almost any NYC neighborhood, but thanks to NYC’s multiple Chinatowns, there are even more options from which to choose. So for all the dumpling lovers in New York City – here’s where to get the best ones.
Joe Shanghai made soup dumplings famous in NYC, and to this day, they’re some of the city’s best. When you walk in, they know what you want, and the waiters almost bring you soup dumplings before you order them. And honestly, their other food isn’t nearly as good, and since you’ll probably want to order more dumplings, just stick with them. For a buzzing Chinatown restaurant experience, this is your spot.
In Manhattan’s Chinatown, it can be tough to know where the good stuff is. There are dumplings (even whole plates for $1) everywhere, and truth be told, they’re not all that great. But luckily for everyone, there’s Lan Zhou Handmade Noodle. From the outside, it looks just like any other no-frills, nondescript noodle or dumpling shop, but it’s not. Their dumplings are some of the best, and they’re super cheap.
If you like your dumplings spicy, head to White Bear in Flushing, Queens. You come here for one thing – the $5 plate of 12 crazy delicious wontons topped with their famous spicy chili oil. For all intents and purposes, these wontons are like dumplings – they’re still warm, satisfying, cheap, and filling. And with the addition of chili oil, they have a fiery kick.
With a different vibe than many of the other places on this list, Mimi Cheng’s is a new-ish, trendy-ish dumpling spot. The interior is pleasant and ‘cute,’ and the menu has more variety than your typical pork-and-chive option. They’ve got an option with chicken and zucchini, another with pork, bok choy, and cabbage, another with kale, zucchini, and egg, and there’s always a seasonal option. They only use local, sustainable ingredients, and despite the differences from your usual dumpling spot, the food here is damn delicious. Plus, they’re opening a second location in Nolita any day now.
Located in Sunset Park, Brooklyn (one of NYC’s liveliest Chinatowns), Pacificana is a dim sum and dumpling wonderland. They serve excellent soup dumplings, but unlike some other spots on this list, their other dumplings are delicious as well. Whether you choose fried pork dumplings, fried wontons, xiao long bao (soup dumplings), or all three, you’ll surely be in dumpling heaven. The best move is to come with a group and get them all, along with all the other dim sum options.
Joe Shanghai may have been the original purveyor of soup dumplings in NYC, but since The Bao opened in 2014, it’s quickly becoming just as popular. Stick with the classic pork xiao long bao– here the skin is so delicate it almost melts in your mouth – and order a lot. That said, the other menu items at The Bao are also delicious, plus they have chocolate soup dumplings for dessert, which, yes, are out of this world. It’s also BYOB, which is always a good time.
Originally a small food stall in Flushing, Queens, Xi’an Famous Foods has become the place to go for bowls of spicy noodles in NYC (now that they’re opening their 12th location). And while most people do come for hand-pulled noodles, you’re selling yourself short if you never try their insane spicy and sour lamb dumplings. Like everything on the menu, they’re outrageously good.
A different sort of dumpling eating experience, RedFarm is an upscale Chinese restaurant in the West Village. You come here if you want to eat dumplings but still have a classy night out, but that also means you’ll be shelling out $12-$15 on just a few dumplings. That said, the dumplings are delicious and deserve just as much honor and prestige as any other food, so maybe you’re okay spending a bit more. Get the Pac-Man dumplings for kicks, and don’t skip the four mushroom option.
In the center of Flushing, Queens is Gold Shopping Mall – a mall housing a basement level food court that’s worth a trip to Flushing alone. Of the many options is Tianjin Dumpling House, a tiny stall making some of the best dumplings you can get. They have tons of dumpling options to choose from, but they’re known for a lamb and green squash combo, which you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.