Tag Archives: Fried Dumpling
Come back every Wednesday for another funny, informative video documenting my inept food adventures. In Locals Know, I explore a new city through the tours of Urban Adventures.
Of all the tours I lead, the one I have been giving more often than the others is the Tenements Tales and Tastes tour for Urban Adventures. It makes sense that this would be the one that people would want to take on their first visit to New York. Everyone can relate.
The tour, just like this city, is the story of the immigrants that came through to make this country what it is today. That includes customs, languages, but also food. And it’s the food that takes the focus on the newest episode of Locals Know. My guide Joe walks us through the Lower East Side from old Dutch New Amsterdam through Chinatown and Little Italy and then we end in Kleindeutschland with a German pretzel and beer.
A few months ago I wrote about what I thought was Fried Dumplings on Allen Street. Well, that joint was at one time called Fried Dumplings, still bears the sign, and was the original of a two storefront business. That location closed last year and re-opened shortly before my visit displaying the subtitle, “Inexpensive Delicacies Company.”
It’s unclear whether the Allen Street location is still attached to the slightly more famous Fried Dumpling, the literal hole in the wall on Mosco Street. And while I’ve been spending much time down in Chinatown, I still have not picked up more than a few words of Mandarin (or Cantonese) to fully investigate this matter. So I decided to assume the two shops are no longer related and figured I owed it to all of my readers to do a full taste of the more popular and aptly named Fried Dumpling.
I was brought here a few months back by the NYC Food Guy when we were filming my ice cream episode. I didn’t have the dumpling credentials then that I do now so aside from being amazed at the now predictable cheap price of $1 for a plate of dumplings, I don’t have much else to say about that first experience.
Everything you may have read about this place is true. The shop is beyond tiny with maybe five stools for some lucky customers. The lady behind the counter is rude, gruff, and could care less if you want to try her dumplings or not. And the only options here are fried dumplings, fried buns, or soup – it also may as well be fried.
As I crowded around the sad well-suited businessmen on lunch break from jury duty (there were a handful actually), the local school kids, and some neighborhood regulars, I did my usual picture taking. I try to snap as much as possible just so I have enough images to fill in these reviews. I guess one of the regular customers found my picture taking a bit disconcerting. He asked if I was from the Health Department (the establishment had already posted a “B” grade) and when I told him I was writing a blog, he looked at me disapprovingly and warned “You shouldn’t do that around here.”
I didn’t want to get on the bad side of the locals, so I was a little more discreet with my image snapping as I began to dig into my fried dumplings. The potstickers looked almost caramelized with a few very crispy nuggets hugging the skin. They added a nice crunchy exterior to the slightly sticky dumplings without adding a greasy element.
Inside, the pork mixture was moist and the fresh scallions added a nice firm contrast. It exceeds most expectations as to what may lurk inside these cheap dumplings. The potsticker had a very slight vanilla taste (perhaps from the nutty oil?) that was surprising and pleasant.
So despite the crowded and unattractive digs, the aggressively suspicious neighbors, and the cheap as dirt food, the dumplings at Fried Dumpling are worth the dollar. They’re fast, tasty, and advertised appropriately. Just don’t try to speak English or snap photos and you’ll be fine.
Does Fried Dumpling have the best dumplings in NY? My illicit photos prove that they have a unique flavor, crunchy texture, and appropriate pricing which comes out to about an 8 out of 10.
|106 Mosco Street (between Mulberry and Mott Street)
SADLY, FRIED DUMPLINGS IS NOW CLOSED.
When a restaurant names themselves after a specific menu item, it had better be good. I don’t know any pizzeria that touts the name: “Pepperoni Pizza” or “Margherita Pizza”. To name yourself after one dish almost alienates everything else on your menu. I don’t think I would ever order a brownie at a place called “Chocolate Chip Cookie”.
So it didn’t surprise me too much when I discovered that the best dish at Fried Dumplings in the Lower East Side was in fact their fried dumplings. But that didn’t stop me from ordering the boiled dumplings as well. And a bottle of water. I’m relieved this place isn’t named “Diet Pepsi”.
Fried Dumplings recently re-opened on Allen Street after a tragic (to the foodie blog world) eviction. There’s also a second, smaller, sketchier location in the heart of Chinatown. But I decided to track down the original on the edge of Chinatown and the Lower East Side where the clientele is much more diverse. It was all Chinese speaking guests when I first arrived and by the time I left, I saw some hipsters, a couple of middle aged tourists, and a horde of school kids descend on the storefront to get a taste of their ridiculously cheap dumplings.
The fried dumplings were ready in a snap. The lady literally took them off the grill, put them on a plate, and handed them to me. I was a bit skeptical about how fresh and hot they would be. But I didn’t hesitate. Somebody hands me food and I’m going to taste it.
I made my way to the small bar area (there are actually roomy tables as well even though the storefront is rather small) and my heart sank again. I began making judgments about this place before tasting anything and they were not good judgments. I noticed next to the chop sticks and hot sauce were packets of soy sauce. Packets?? I know most packaged soy sauces in this country are not soy at all – they’re basically black sugar water. At the other spots I’ve been to, the soy sauce is in bigger bottles and has a vinegar flavor. Not sure where those come from either, but the cliched packets made me think of bad Chinese take-out. This isn’t going well so far.
But I am so pleased to say that everything changed when I took my first bite of those titular dumplings. They were quite hot and crispy without much grease. And I was amazed at the juicy interior. I almost thought these were soup dumplings for a second. The thick but tender wrapper gave way to a warm gingery meaty filling.
The boiled version wasn’t quite as good (this place is called FRIED Dumpling, after all), but they were still enjoyable. These too had a juicy center and I had to quickly wipe up the dumpling juice I embarrassingly squirted across the table. The pork chive filling was just as fresh as the fried versions, but I found these wrappers a little chewier.
And after a few dumplings, I stopped using the packaged soy sauce. I felt these guys were so flavorful they really didn’t need the black salt water. Maybe a hint of hot sauce, but even that wasn’t really necessary.
While enjoying the dumplings, I looked down at the counter and noticed the menu listed another name for this place: Inexpensive Delicacies Company. Hm. Well, whatever the name of this place is, they not only practice serving good fried dumplings, but also truth in advertising.
Does Fried Dumplings (Inexpensive Delicacies Company) have the best dumplings in NY? Even though looks may be deceiving, their namesake dumplings are fantastic and they get an 8 out of 10 for making delicious boiled ones as well.
|FRIED DUMPLINGS (INEXPENSIVE DELICACIES COMPANY)|
|99 Allen Street (between Delancey and Broome Street)
Lower East Side