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Feb 10, 2008 12:01 PM

Chinatown Dumplings

I've never had the opportunity to try Dumpling House and Prosperity Dumpling (both on Eldridge) on consecutive days. In the back of my mind, I've always suspected I like Prosperity better, even though Dumpling House is much more popular.

Yesterday, got a 5-pack of Prosperity's dumplings to go on my way to Super Taste. They had just come off the pan and were appropriately crunchy, steamy, with the hot juices flowing. Filling was chock full of chives, which I love, and the meat was fatty and tasty.

Today, I stopped by Dumpling House, which I hadn't been to since the renovation. Got 8 dumplings and a sesame pancake with duck (new to the menu). The dumplings paled in comparison to Prosperity's. They have such high turnover, yet the dumplings I got were browned on the bottom, but hardly crispy. I can accept that, because sometimes you just get the end of a batch. What I cannot accept is that the filling was terrible. No aroma, minimal chives and way to heavy on the white pepper. Even dunking in soy sauce and hot sauce (which I never have to do at Prosperity) barely made a dent. My wife had 1 and stopped, complaining about how bad these were.

Now that I've compared back to back, I have to say that Dumpling House has fallen from favor. Oh yeah, hte sesame pancake was lukewarm also, filled with some fatty bits of duck. Yuck. No thank you.

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  1. You're burying your lead story? What goes on at Super Taste? Is that where you go for the full on meal after dumplings?

    8 Replies
    1. re: sing me a bar

      haha. yeah, love super taste's beef noodle soup. i've tried the others, including sheng wang, but nothing else beats the taste of the soup and the texture of the noodles. i prefer the knife-sliced noodles, but for some reason the owner sometimes won't make them.

      1. re: FattyDumplin

        I will say, hands down, Super Taste has the best steamed pork dumplings (and dipping sauce) this side of Canal Street. Prosperity is pretty good, but doughy and not even on the same planet as Super Taste. You do not know the delectable scrumptiousness you are missing if you're not eating these perfect pillows of joy. And yes, the beef soup is truly fantastic. But trust me- the dumplings at Super Taste stand on their own merit. And at $3 for ten piping hot treats, I might consider it the best dumpling bargain in all of NYC.

        1. re: FattyDumplin

          Is it too much to hope that Super Taste's beef noodle soup is Taiwanese-style? Would love the option to not trawl Flushing or take the hours of slow-cooking to make it myself...

          1. re: NancyC

            its sort of like the taiwanese beef noodle soup (although that can vary depending on who makes it). the basics are the same, but the beef is not nearly as tender as it is when u get it done correctly, the noodles are excellent and the broth is less flavorful than any good taiwanese place

            btw im not recommending 144 e broadway a place called lan zhou hand pulled noodles. I think its done a little better and they have amazing dumplings

            1. re: Lau

              Lau, did you mean to write "I'm now recommending" or "I'm NOT recommending"?

              1. re: racer x

                I was wondering that too! If you ARE recommending Lan Zhou, is it just good for Manhattan or a reasonably good rendition for either Queens or Manhattan?

                1. re: NancyC

                  sorry that was a typo...i meant "i'm now recommending"

                  Both dumplings and noodle soup are some of the better renditions in NY, I eat at either there or super taste usually weekly (at super taste they literally doesn't even ask us what we want, we just sit down and they bring us the usual).

                  Dumplings are very good for anywhere (i.e. its an absolute good rendition)

                  Noodle soup wise its the best in manhattan (i dont think flushing is a big step up when it comes to noodle soup, if someone's got a great rec for me id love to try it) and good generally although I've never had a great noodle soup in NY period (flushing included). The good noodle soup places (like lan zhou) in NY definitely get the noodles right (the hand pulled noodles are quite good). Its the beef and broth that aren't quite right. The beef when done right should be very tender (never done right in any place in manhattan or flushing) and the soup broth should be very flavorful although I think this is hardest to get right and also the most subjective (its one of those best sushi or steak type arguments), that said none of the places in NY have great broth, its decent, but when you have great broth you can't stop drinking it (this is def the most difficult as even some of the good places in LA can't get that right although some of them have great broth)

                  1. re: Lau

                    Thanks. The one and only time I tried to make beef noodle soup at home I think I did a really good rendition of what I had in Taiwan but it took SO LONG. Of course, those hours of cooking did yield incredibly tender beef and a very rich broth. But I'm always on the lookout for a place that can serve it faster and cheaper :).

      2. Oh, yeah, I always thought Prosperity was superior. I just didn't understand why everybody liked Dumpling House, which I thought was just greasy with no care.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Miss Needle

          i do think the quality has slipped. when i first tried them about 3 years ago, i really enjoyed the dumplings. and the sesame pancake was great also. the last couple times, its been lackluster. for the last 6 months, my default has been prosperity because its so close to super taste.

          1. re: FattyDumplin

            I've eaten at Dumpling House years ago and thought it wasn't very good back then either. Same with the one on Mosco. Prosperity always serves their dumplings piping hot and fresh. The other ones just seemed so tired.

            1. re: Miss Needle

              There's no Dumpling House on Mosco. Perhaps you're thinking of Fried Dumpling? BTW, I've always gotten fresh dumplings at Dumpling House and their sister Tasty Dumpling.

              1. re: a_and_w

                Yes, I know there's no Dumping House on Mosco. I was just saying that even though Fried Dumpling on Mosco was so popular, I never liked them.

                I did like Tasty Dumpling, though.

                1. re: Miss Needle

                  Gotcha -- then I agree on both counts.

                  1. re: Miss Needle

                    The Fried Dumpling store on Mosco does a consistently bad job- way too greasy. The one on Allen is much better, although timing is important, as they are better out of the pan when turnover is high (which of course means, however, that there is nowhere to sit and eat).

                    1. re: addictedtolunch

                      The one on Allen is also cleaner, as I recall. I'm pretty desensitized to mess, but the Mosco branch really grossed me out.

          2. Thirteen dumplings, a sesame pancake AND Super Taste ? Did you eat all of it !

            I'm always hammering that Prosperity blows Dumpling House out of the water. I'm so amazed that the latter is as popular as it is.

            3 Replies
            1. re: cmballa

              ha. no two separate trips. 8 dumplings and a pancake from dumpling house yesterday, after splitting a roast pork banh mi and shrimp rolls from saigon banh mi. 5 dumpings shared while eating at super taste. i'm a glutton, just not that big of a glutton.

              1. re: FattyDumplin

                Oh I know where you're coming from. Eating silly amounts of food in Chinatown from as many spots as possible is my (fair weather) pastime.

                1. re: cmballa

                  try doing it while fighting through the mobs for chinese new year as i did this weekend. that is the true test of a warrior!

            2. Not in Chinatown, but there's a great dumpling place in the East Village off 2nd avenue calle Plump Dumplings. Yummy!

              1. Wait, wait, wait -- have you ever had Super Taste's dumplings? They are AMAZING. Way better than any of these other joints. Almost as good as my mom's.

                4 Replies
                1. re: fatisflavor

                  they are very good, but they're a different type of dumpling from prosperity...that said they are quite good, i eat at super taste once a week and if we're hungry we get an additional dumpling over our noodle soup and fish balls...the dumplings are cheap as hell too, you get so many

                  they're steamed dumplings (shui jiao) with thinner skin than dumpling house or prosperity and dumpling house / prosperity serve fried dumplings (guo tie)

                  1. re: fatisflavor

                    I STRONGLY concur with Fat- Super Taste is truly god's gift to dumpling lovers.


                    1. re: FuDee

                      you know i actually like the place on 144 e broadway slightly better for dumplings for the sole reason that they they will fry them up (super taste only has them steamed)...they taste exactly the same (if you put super taste and their steamed dumplings in a taste test you could not tell the difference), but the frying makes them so good and they only fry them lightly so they're not very heavy, but really good

                      this place is extremely english challenged, ive never spoken a word of english to them, but they did translate maybe 5 or 6 things into english on the wall and the fried dumplings are one of them, so just point if u dont know any chinese

                      1. re: FuDee

                        I third that emotion. I am not a pulled noodles-lover, but my husband is, and prefers Eastern Noodle. However, I dragged him to Super Taste to try the dumplings and I was shocked and awed. Those little pork and chive bundles of joy were juicy and brimming with flavor, and the skin was perfect. I shamelessly finished the plate.