We started at 9:30 am and ate our weight in dumplings until 4:30 pm. Here’s the yellow brick road you need to follow for the most efficient dumpling tasting party. Bring your friends (no more than 3, because these dumpling places often don’t have a lot of seating), get your butt off at Penn station, and start heading east.
Rating: 3/5 dumplings
First stop: Korean dumplings. Order yourself some of them kimchi mandoos and while you wait ask for the barley tea. I know the dduk boki looks really good too, but this is a dumpling grub crawl, so stay focused. Coolest part about the place is they make the dumplings in this glass window that looks out on the street.
Rating: 4/5 dumplings
Potstickers, potstickers, potstickers! Get the chicken, beef or veggie potstickers (my fave was chicken) and pour all the sauces on it. They have dumpling sauce, chili sauce, potsticker sauce, and vinegar. Limited seating, so be forewarned. But if you’re up for making your own Japanese potstickers (gyoza), you don’t have to look too far.
Comments: Dessert crêpe, yes please
Gotta break up all the dumplings with a good ol’ Japanese style crêpe. They have both sweet and savory options, so you have some variety, but I would heavily recommend the Matcha Azuki Bean one. If you’re feeling cupcakes instead of crêpes, there’s plenty of those right around the corner, too.
Rating: 3/5 dumplings
Spicy wontons and basil chicken dumplings hit the spot. But if you have to get anything at this hole-in-the-wall spot, get the sesame pancake and douse it with sriracha. Be prepared to get takeout and eat outside because during rush hour, finding seats is like war.
Comments: Ice cream to cleanse the palette
This cute, little place draws crowds from far and wide. Cereal milk soft serve with cornflake crunch is an absolute must-have if you’ve never been here before. And if you want to go home and make your own cereal milk smoothie, no one is gonna judge you. The pretzel soft serve with hot fudge was delicious, too — surprisingly sweet, but with just the right balance. Good thing it’s right next to Vanessa’s Dumpling House.
Rating: 7/5 dumplings (It’s that good)
If you don’t feel like going to all the dumpling places, make sure you at least go to this one. They usually have a standard 3 options on their menu, and one special. We got the pan-fried combo “The Mimi Cheng” and “The Mighty Veggie,” and both were absolutely delicious, especially doused with Mimi Cheng’s Secret Sauce.
Comments: End strong with dessert
One of the best Asian dessert bars to end a day of Asian food. They’re famous for their Chocolate Green Tea Lava Cake, but the Golden Toast and Chocolate Forest are not to be ignored. The condensed milk ice cream on the Golden Toast was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.
Now you’re done. You’ve done your duty. If you still have room in your stomach, head down towards Chinatown and keep on eating those dumplings. Otherwise, grab an Uber back to Penn Station, and don’t feel guilty about grabbing a donut at Krispy Kreme (or make your own). You deserve it.
#SpoonTip: Tend towards the pan-fried dumplings, as they’re usually more delicious and also smell like heaven. And take lots of pictures so you can make your friends at home jealous.