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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.

                    2. The absolute best dumplings are the crab and pork soup dumplings at Joe's Shanghai. Yummmmmm

                      1. I did a back-to-back comparison of pork and chives dumplings from Prosperity and Dumpling House around 5pm today (Sunday). Prosperity's dumplings had a much better tasting filling, with hints of sesame oil and maybe even a little pepper. The filling in the Dumpling House dumplings just tasted of a little soy sauce.

                        Aside from the actual taste of the food, I preferred the experience at Prosperity. A steady flow of customers passed through Prosperity while I waited for my order and then ate it, but the pace was slow enough that the cook/cashier was able to look each customer in the face as he took their orders, received payment, and gave them their food. He even smiled at me. By contrast, the crush of the crowd at Dumpling House left me feeling like I was in a cattle herd. The server who was giving out the food from behind the counter wasn't even looking at the customers' faces half the time, and I didn't see any smiles behind the counter there.

                        Dumpling House has an advantage in terms of a nicer and much larger seating area, as well as a broader range of menu choices. But Prosperity won me over today with better-tasting dumplings and warmer service.

                        1. So I gave in and stopped by Dumpling House the other day for the first time after their remodel (I just started a new job nearby). I had no want for their dumplings, and the beef on store for sandwiches looked as dry as hell, BUT. Check out that crock-pot full of sticky, sweet, unctuous pork they now keep on the counter. It fills sandwiches! And they totally rule! Might be the only reason to go there (unless someone has some good info on the duck sandwich, or other new things).

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: cmballa

                            i tried the duck sandwich, it's just like the beef sandwich except it has duck and hoisin sauce in it, its pretty tasty. I also got the egg and chive pancake, which is actually more like a jamaican beef pattie except that its stuffed with egg, chives and glass noodles...this was very good and definitely worth trying

                            also i saw somethiing on their menu that got me excited although i haven't tried it yet. there is this thing in LA called the "beef roll" (niu rou bao bing in chinese), that a couple of northern chinese places serve that is way awesome. i think they might have it here although i have to try it

                            here's a pic of it:

                            1. re: Lau

                              I've had what was described as the sesame beef pancake at Prosperity Dumplings and while it is excellent it's not the same as the beef rolls from 101 Express. The Prosperity pancake is round and looks like a small pizza. Actually not a bad substitute if you can't get the real thing.

                              1. re: Chandavkl

                                I tried Prosperity for the first time yesterday -- so much better than the place on Mosco. I thought the sesame pancake with beef was good, especially for $1.50, but now I've got to get to Dumpling House for pork and duck sandwiches!

                                1. re: Chandavkl

                                  no its different b/c both prosperity and dumpling house have the sesame beef pancake, but dumpling house has a new different item that translates exactly the same in chinese as the beef roll at 101 noodle (this item only showed up after they renovated)...we'll see if its the same

                                  i've only had the beef roll once in new york at king 5 in flushing (good, but doesnt compare to 101 noodle express)

                                2. re: Lau

                                  Niu rou bao bing sounds amazing; thanks Lau

                                  1. re: cmballa

                                    yeah its really awesome when done right...like REALLY awesome, that said i have no idea whether this is the exact same thing despite it translating the same and whether its good or not...i will find out though

                                    1. re: Lau

                                      Not to torment you, but several other places besides 101 Noodle Express have begun serving the dish--some versions not particularly good, but some others are just as good.

                                      1. re: Chandavkl

                                        yeah i've had it at some other places in LA...but 101 is the best i've had

                              2. Prosperity has the best dumplings in that class of food. He is still 5 for $1 while others are at 4 for a $1. He really does them well and his bread is excellent right out of the pan. The only downside is the place is a little cramped and can get busy after work hours.

                                1. Late to this advanced conversation, but allow me to bump this up by inserting a radical question to take this in a different, but related, direction: what about VEGGIE dumplings.

                                  Much, much harder to come by, of course. I envy you carnivores all your options!

                                  There's a veggie dim sum place that's just okay, and I've tried a couple others here or there (can't remember names) that are serviceable, but anyone know anything really great?!?

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: fmogul

                                    I would say the veggie dumplings from Dim Sum Go Go are pretty good. And I haven't been, but have heard great things about the edamame dumplings at Buddakan.

                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                      It's been a while, but I'd say Dim Sum Go Go veggie dumplings are just okay -- more or less what you'd get anyplace, but less than you'd expect on the sacred byways of Chinatown. Actually, there are truly exceptional non-Chinatown pan-fried veggie dumplings at Province China Canteen on Church Street; that's an exceptional place, IMO, but it's not the same thing as getting a uniquely down-home Chinatown experience.

                                      1. re: fmogul

                                        second on the province dumplings; I finally tried them and of course they are way pricier than the 5/$1 places but the pork and shrimp dumpling is really amazing; pan-fried, thin-skin, made in the restaurant and each dumplings contains a whole shrimp. seriously! great flavor and perhaps an unexpected find at this place, considering I've only gone there for the sandwiches (love 'em) and sometimes the sesame noodles (also pretty unique). I've yet to try the beet salad tho.

                                    2. re: fmogul

                                      i used to love the ones at new green bo, although it's been quite a while since i've had them. they're big with a generous filling of chopped greens, vermicelli, tofu, and mushroom.

                                      1. re: fmogul

                                        I've had the veggie dumplings from Dumpling house (they're normally steamed, but they will pan-fry if the order is big enough). They're good.

                                        But for vegetarians I would suggest their vegetarian sesame pancake options -- one is standard accoutrements x 2 (carrot, cilantro, cucumber, etc.), and the other (my recommendation) has those things and a pretty well-prepared kimchee.

                                        (I also HIGHLY recommend ordering a roast pork sandwich and asking for kimchee on it, they sometimes do it for free.)

                                        1. re: guttergourmet

                                          Isn't that thread older than this one - are there places on the older thread that you'd still recommend over preferences here? Thinking about taking my husband down to Chinatown tomorrow .... Thanks.

                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                            M - The older thread still mentions Prosperity Dumplings (46 Eldridge) among others. I've always liked Prosperity's pan fried dumplings. Why not consider a taste test with DH tomorrow? Try Prosperity first and then waltz on over to the new place Lau recommends at 144 East Broadway?

                                            1. re: scoopG

                                              if u go to 144 e bway, make sure to get the fried version its better than the steamed version. Fyi, for anyone who doesn't speak chinese the place can be a little confusing, but there is an english menu on the wall that has a few of the important items translated (most notably the beef noodle soup and fried dumplings)...fyi these dumplings are not greasy at all like the other $1 dumpling places

                                              here was my report on the place with subsequent posts on later visits where i discovered the fried dumplings and the tang yuan (a dessert)

                                              1. re: Lau

                                                Have anyone tried the open takeout window on Grand St, right next to Sun Dou(sp?) dumplings? (or is it part of it?) I walked past it sometimes when I went to DiPalo's but have never tried.

                                                1. re: kobetobiko

                                                  I think the takeout is part of Sun Dou and if i'm not mistaken, Sun Dou was renamed to something else. Either way, wasn't a huge fan when I tried it a couple years ago. And with all the fine dumpling houses on eldridge, I haven't felt compelled to try it again.

                                                  1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                    it is part of sun dou, i walked past it today...i agree, its fine, but nothing special...other well known places are better

                                                    1. re: Lau

                                                      Sun Dou is now called the Good Dumpling House. New owners slightly re-modeled the place a few months ago. Also their pan fried dumplings are four for $1.00. Below par XLB to boot.

                                        2. I tried both on the same night the other night, I had never previously had either. Prosperity was the winner by far. I got the boiled pork and chive dumplings, and they were delicious, and made quickly. They weren't the biggest dumplings but given that you can get 20 for $4 I can't really complain. I'll definitely be coming back. Now, Dumpling House on the other hand... it took me over 25 minutes to get my order. It was obvious that they didn;t even start making it until people who had ordered over 20 spots ahead of me had gotten their food, and they looked at what was "left" (i.e. me). Plus, the dumplings had WAY too much dough on them. Prosperity all the way.