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Chinese Dumplings (jiao zi / shui jiao) - where to get them?

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  • Lau Apr 7, 2010 06:03 PM
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I live in NYC, my gf's mother likes the dumplings that i get at chinese places in NY such as Prosperity Dumplings and White Bear in Flushing if you're familiar with NY. I normally get her bags of 50 frozen dumplings for her usually I get cabbage and pork (zhu rou bai cai); my gf usually gives them to her when she goes to visit.

Are there any dumplings houses in philly where she can get them? (I don't know philly chinatown at all). Don't need recs for frozen dumplings in supermarkets.

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  1. I moved here from NYC and when I got to Philly, I went on a hunt for good handmade dumplings, sold frozen so that you can make them at home. (I used to get them at Vanessa's Dumpling House in Manhattan.) I finally found a place in Philly that would do it: Dim Sum Garden, on 11th Street. They will sell you any of their handmade dumplings frozen, although it's not a regular thing for them. At first they insisted that I pay full price, as if they were all cooked and hot (still pretty cheap at 10 for 3.50). But eventually I talked them into giving me a discount on the still-frozen dumplings -- now I buy six orders (60 dumplings) for 20 bucks. They make the pork-and-cabbage variety, but I usually buy pork-and-chive. They are very nice people, who make very good dumplings.

    4 Replies
    1. re: foodforbrains

      Do you need to call in an order in advance or could I just walk in and ask for the frozen dumplings?

      1. re: foodforbrains

        Quality-wise I can vouch for this place - super tasty dumplings. But I've never asked for frozen...

        1. re: AgentRed

          I have just walked in and asked -- they have a lot of frozen dumplings already made, presumably so they can fire them up on short notice. I don't think they had ever sold them frozen before, and they seemed surprised when I asked. But they were nice about it, and sold me some. I kept going back for more every week or so, and after a while they got to know me and would say "frozen dumpling!" when I walked in the door. Give it a shot, hopefully they'll be cool with it.

          And Agent Red is right that their dumplings are super-tasty -- I've had only great food at Dim Sum Garden. Agent, have you tried their cold cucumber salad? Goes very well with dumplings. And they make their own noodles, which are very good.

          1. re: foodforbrains

            I love their cucumber salad, and their baby bok choi. Their dumplings are all fantastic. My favorite is the Shanghai shumai.
            The handpulled noodles are also great.

      2. Alright, I don't mean to dredge up an old topic but it's very relevant so I hope some of the original posters are still around.

        Firstly, where do you guys buy those little sheets to steam the dumplings? Like, I have a steamer at home, but surely I don't put the dumpling on to the metal, right? I put those little rice paper sheets and then put the dumplings on top, I thought. But I just can't find those paper sheets, I looked all over chinatown and even my closest Whole Foods and Genuardis... nothing!

        Secondly, how do frozen purchases work - can I mix and match or do I have to buy a certain amount of each dumplings? I wouldn't mind 10-15 of the same type, but I'd hate to buy 60 of the same time!

        Also, what about price? foodforbrains' post suggests that 10 for 3.50 is the retail and 60 for 20 is the frozen price, but that's only a ~2 cent/dumpling difference or $1 difference... right? So frozen dumplings aren't really any cheaper?

        And if anyone has other suggestions of where to buy frozen dumplings that would be great, thanks everyone

        14 Replies
        1. re: AgentRed

          In terms of steaming, lettuce leaves/cups will do the job nicely.

          1. re: AgentRed

            The H-Mart in Elkins Park has a huge variety of frozen dumplings. You can also use parchment paper for steaming - easy to find in any supermarket.

            1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

              Parchment paper - ingenious!

              I actually tried microwaving frozen dumplings tonight (blasphemy, I know) and they turned out OK. I submerged them in some warm water for 10 seconds before nuking.

              Probably not suitable if you're trying to impress dinner friends, but acceptable in a pinch, especially if it's late, you're tired and want some no-hassle, relatively healthy fast food.

              1. re: AgentRed

                I was at a Taiwanese restaurant in Boston recently and they served their Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings) steamed on slices of daikon radish, which I thought was much better than paper (which tends to stick), and lettuce (which I've never found appetizing when wilted).

                1. re: AgentRed

                  Many of the frozen dumplings cook fine when boiled. Some of them are actually meant to be boiled rather than steamed. For me, boiling is just as easy as microwaving and the end product is much better.

                2. re: Hungryin theBurbs

                  Great topic. I shop at the H Mart in Cherry Hill and they have a huge selection of dumplings. Most of what I've tried are 'meh'... Does anyone have specific brand names/types from the H Mart? That's what I'd really like to know.
                  There used to be a small Asian store in CH, now closed, that sold the most excellent dumplings in the frozen food section. They were hand made and the vendor was out of Brooklyn. They came in a tin container with a plastic top and were quite a bit more expensive than the bagged dumplings. They were packed maybe a dozen to a package. I've never been able to find them anyplace else, but they were delicious. I'd love to get a recommendation for a store bought dumpling if anyone has a suggestion.

                  1. re: mschow

                    I asked this question on Andrea Nguyen's blog. Her answer was: you get what you pay for. Her point was basically that unlike at the "regular" supermarkets where you sometimes pay for products based on marketing or brand name, the price points at the Asian store correspond pretty closely with quality.

                    I can't remember specific brands, but I've had good luck by looking for the dumplings without preservatives and MSG. These tend to be higher quality products.

                    1. re: barryg

                      Hmm... I sort of agree. I tried Susanna Foo's dumplings from her stall in the Lancaster County Farmers Market, and even to take away and cook yourself they were $1 each (!) and yeah they were good but... not, in my opinion, good enough to justify the price premium. Then again, I'm not the biggest Foo fan.

                      Does Wholefoods do frozen dumplings? I assume they'd be preservative and MSG free. The H Mart in Cherry Hill is really far, can anyone recommend some good brands that the supermarkets in Chinatown or Little Vietnam carry? Thanks!

                      P.S. I picked up some parchment paper, only to realize that I have to get a new steamer thing... grrrr....!

                3. re: AgentRed

                  Hi AgentRed,

                  Sorry not to respond for many months! Just saw this.

                  Re little sheets -- I always pan fry, so I don't know.

                  Re frozen purchases -- I always get all chive and pork, because I think that's the best type there. They might mix and match for you, but given the language barrier and the fact that they're not really set up to sell frozen dumplings, I haven't wanted to get fancy!

                  RE price -- 60 for 20 is 30 cents per dumpling instead of 35 cents. A little cheaper. You can certainly get much cheaper mass-produced dumplings in the grocery store. We get those sometimes too -- we like the Wei Chuan brand.

                  Good eating to you, sir! (Or lady!)

                  1. re: foodforbrains

                    There's now a dumpling house in Upper Darby called Yang Yang Express. I don't think I've seen it mentioned on Chowhound. 107 Fairfield Avenue, for those familiar with the area the same block as Little Saigon, around the corner from Don Memo. Apparently they've been there " a few months."

                    All hand made, all fresh, 10 for $3.50 to $3.95, $4.95 for fish dumplings. Other buns, soups, congee, noodle dishes etc available.

                    I enjoyed them but don't consider myself a dumpling expert by any means. Getting good reviews on other sites though.

                    Jim

                    1. re: jimc

                      ah interesting, this is very helpful will pass along to my gf's family

                      1. re: Lau

                        I removed that Atlantic City Little Saigon link.

                        Not mine.

                        Jim

                        1. re: jimc

                          yah i know where this is, its close to the hmart i think....its actually perfect b/c my gf gets dropped off there when she goes to philly and then her family picks her up

                      2. re: jimc

                        I'll definitely check it out and give a report very soon.