When I think of cold weather, I automatically turn to comforting Asian food. It’s quick, hearty, and sure to soothe the soul. Without a doubt, the two places I tried checked off all those boxes. Both restaurants sit right along Union Turnpike, allowing for St. John’s University students to access them easily. 

Dumpling Legend: 9/10

Dumpling Legend is located on 176-61 Union Turnpike, just past Regina’s Pizzeria! They offer both takeout and dine-in service, which is very convenient. I ordered takeout, and personally was going for one thing and one thing only. 3 words, pork soup dumplings. After trying these, I can say with full confidence that these soup dumplings did not disappoint. The dough itself had a nice chewy texture and each dumpling was shaped perfectly. Now, the actual soup part of the dumpling had notes of ginger which made these little pockets of joy all the more warm and comforting. The pork was seasoned nicely and cooked to perfection. Six dumplings come in an order for $8.50, which makes this a great spot for hungry college students on a budget. All in all, these soup dumplings are the perfect things to keep you going on a cold day, especially during exam season. Students and other patrons can order through Caviar for conveniency. 

talia shapiro

Wo Kee Noodle: 10/10

Next stop is Wo Kee Noodle! Located at 168-12 Union Turnpike, Chef and Owner Yan has 20 years of experience cooking up fresh Chinese Cantonese specialities. His passion and dedication for serving the neighborhood is strong and is clearly reflected in his cooking. Because of Chef Yan’s bio, I was intrigued to try two of his different dim sum specialties, along with a lunch special that was calling my name. The steamed barbeque pork buns (left), fried pork dumplings (right), and General Tso’s chicken lunch special (top) were all devoured in about 15 minutes. The chicken was light and crispy, and smothered in a sauce that had the perfect balance of sweet and heat! Not to mention that the rice soaks up the sauce perfectly. Additionally, the broccoli was tender and not overcooked. Lunch specials range from $8.50 to $12.50 and are served with rice. But the absolute star of the show? The steamed barbeque pork buns. Warm, soft, hot, fluffy- I mean the list goes on and on. The pork filling was sweet and smoky and had the perfect amount in each bun. An order of these delicious buns cost $4.99 and customers get three. They can even be considered a bakery item, found in Asian bakeshops and is highlighted in this article.Lastly, the fried pork dumplings were familiar and simple, yet executed well with a crispy exterior and warm, chewy interior. The pork filling was a tad heavy but the flavors of ginger and scallion made up for that tiny flaw. Customers get 7 dumplings for $6.95. I would recommend this restaurant to any St. John’s student looking for delicious Chinese Cantonese food with a side of friendly service! Wo Kee offers takeout and dine-in service just like Dumpling Legend. The space is clean, simply decorated, and comfortable. Customers can order online for easy pickup on their own website

talia shapiro