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NYC's 5 Best Spots For Dumplings

Dumplings are the best quintessential comfort food; found in just about every culture in some form, they are packages of joy in each bite, and generally inexpensive. New York City has quite the selection -- here, we've focused on Asian dumplings: where the best in each class were found in 2011.
By Yvo Sin.

Best Gyoza (Japanese Dumplings):

Sapporo Gyoza

152 West 49th St # 1
New York, NY
(212) 869-8972

Once described in a review as "softer than your lover's thighs" - a review that hangs proudly on the front window of Sapporo - the gyoza here are delightfully plump, succulent, and juicy. An order of gyoza will run about $5; well worth it, considering they are softer than your lover's thighs and yet you won't want to share them with your lover.

Best Sichuan Dumplings:
White Bear

White Bear

135-02 Roosevelt Ave
Flushing, NY 11354
(718) 961-2322

The awning may say "ICE CREAM" and the menu may have other items on it, but make no mistake: you are there for one thing and one thing alone. The best Sichuan dumplings with chili oil that you will ever eat in your entire life can be found here. Order #6 – 12 such dumplings for $4.50 – and wait eagerly for the Styrofoam container to be passed to you as you hand over your money. Try to be patient, or you may just burn your mouth on each succulent, tender morsel. The skin is impossibly thin, breaking apart with pressure from your teeth to reveal juicy, flavorful pork. The crunchy pickled veggies tossed casually on top create a textural contrast to make you smile, while the chili oil – frighteningly bright red – adds just the slightest touch of heat to eat bite. Congratulations - you've just experienced dumpling nirvana.

Best Fried Pork & Chive Dumplings:
Lam Zhou Hand Pulled Noodles

Lam Zhou Dumplings

144 E Broadway
New York, NY 10002
(212) 566-6933

Lam Zhou Hand Pulled Noodles' claim to fame is the excellent hand pulled noodles, but make no mistake: the fried dumplings are also not to be missed. Twelve perfectly fried pork and chive dumplings will run you $3 and can easily be eaten as a meal on their own; each dumpling is stuffed with the perfect amount of pork and chive mixture so not to explode while cooking, but instead remain perfectly intact and juicy until you bite into each one. Savor the juicy explosion of the meat inside each dumpling, tantalizing all your senses.

Best Soup Dumplings (xiao long bao):
Nan Xiang Dumpling House

Nan Xiang

38-12 Prince St
Flushing, NY 11354
(718) 321-3838

Soup dumplings are, as the name suggests, dumplings that include soup within each pocket. There are many ways to get the soup inside a dumpling; some suggest a needle, some suggest freezing or gelatinizing soup such that it turns liquid in the cooking process. Regardless of how you get the soup inside, the skill lies in how thin you can make the skin without it just tearing while eating before the eater wants it to. Nan Xiang has this down to an art form; the skin pliant, chewy, yet thin, and each dumpling swimming happily in its own womb of soup, waiting for the consumer to bite into it. Flavorful broth, juicy meat bits, and a thin skin all add up to being easily the best soup dumplings in NYC. Be prepared to wait, though: word is out about these beauties, and people travel from all boroughs to eat here.

Best $1 dumplings:

Prosperity Dumpling

46 Eldridge St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 343-0683

When it comes to dumplings, it doesn't get cheaper than Prosperity Dumplings. $1 will get you five fried pork&chive dumplings, served quickly in a styrofoam container from a teeny tiny storefront on the edge of Chinatown and the Lower East Side. If lack of seating turns you off, then you just don't want those juicy nuggets badly enough; crisp on one side, piping hot, and juicy, you'd be hard pressed to find a more satisfying meal for cheaper. If you're especially hungry, just double the order; $2 lighter and 10 dumplings heavier, happiness awaits.

For the latest on where to eat in the Tri-State, follow us on Twitter!

Yvo Sin is the founder and head writer of The Feisty Foodie.

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