Food & Drink

The 10 Best Dumplings in NYC

Published On 05/18/2015 Published On 05/18/2015

It’s such a simple concept -- wrapping meat and vegetables in dough, then steaming, boiling, or, better yet, frying the hell out of it. But, simple as they are, some dumplings, potstickers, and wontons are better (and sometimes way better) than others. These 10 are the best NYC has to offer:
 

Shrimp & snow pea leaf dumplings

Nom Wah Tea Parlor (address and info)
Chinatown
Choosing a favorite dumpling at Wilson Tang’s revived Chinatown tea house ain’t easy, but these open-faced beauties edge out the rest with their generous filling of fresh shrimp and leafy greens, plus the translucent, nearly melt-in-your-mouth wrappers.

Flickr/james yu

Kung Fu Steamed Pork Buns

The Bao (address and info)
East Village
Unlike most of Manhattan’s Shanghainese restaurants, the xiao long bao at this St. Mark’s newcomer (sibling to Flushing’s Kung Fu Xiao Long Bao) strike the perfect balance. The wrapper is delicate, yet strong enough not to pop under the weight of the broth-y filling. Dig into these babies as soon as they arrive -- it’ll be well worth the scorched tongue.
 

Hot and sour soup with pork dumplings

Yun Nan Flavour Garden (address and info)
Sunset Park
Noodles may get top billing here, but this dumpling soup is no quiet sidekick. With plump pork wontons submerged in a spicy, tangy broth that’s a trademark of China’s Yunnan province, the bowl nearly upstages leading actors like the restaurant’s signature crossing bridge noodles.

Flickr/Kent Wang

Shanghai pan-fried pork buns

Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns Ramen (address and info)
Hell’s Kitchen
Think of these as xiao long bao on steroids -- just like soup dumplings, the filling of sheng jian bao LITERALLY explodes with pork juices, but the sturdier wrapper holds up to some serious pan-frying.
 

Spicy & sour spinach dumplings

Xi'an Famous Foods (address and info)
Multiple locations
These vibrant, all-veg dumplings easily hold their own against their more well-known, lamb-stuffed siblings. Jam-packed with chopped spinach and bouncy vermicelli noodles, the hefty bright green bundles arrive in a bowl of vinegar-spiked chili oil that brings just the right amount of heat to the entire affair.

Flickr/roboppy

Lamb and green squash dumplings

Tianjin Dumpling House and Dumpling Galaxy (address and info)
Flushing
Between her two restaurants, dumpling maven Helen You churns out more than 100 varieties, but it’s this must-order classic -- tender pockets filled with gingery minced lamb and sweet summer squash -- that remains tops in our books.
 

Momos

Lhasa Fast Food (address and info)
Jackson Heights
This serious momo specialist is tucked in the back room of cell phone store Tibet Mobile, and from there they dole out basket after basket of Himalayan dumplings made from hand-rolled wrappers and fillings like spiced beef or wild chives. Load on the house-made sauces and you’ve got yourself a deliciously doughy flavor bomb.

Courtesy of Anne Massoni

Pretzel pork & chive dumplings

Talde (address and info)
Park Slope and Jersey City
Dale Talde’s new-school riff on classic potstickers combines two food groups we love: pretzels and pork. The genius hybrid features a traditional Chinese filling, but its chewy, salt-speckled casing is entirely New York.

Andrew Zimmer/Thrillist

Wontons in hot chili oil

White Bear (address and info)
Flushing
Perhaps the neighborhood’s most talked about dumplings, these floppy wontons deserve all the praise and then some. The silky-skinned parcels -- stuffed with pork and vibrant greens -- are excellent on their own, but reach a whole new level of dumpling greatness when smothered in house-made chili oil, pickled vegetables, and fresh scallions.

Flickr/roboppy

Fried dumplings

Lam Zhou Handmade Noodle (address and info)
Chinatown
Chinatown’s dollar dumpling joints have nothing (other than the whole dollar thing) on this East Broadway noodle house, where the metal platters of thin-skinned potstickers always come out perfectly crisp and bursting with succulent chunks of chive-studded pork.

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Patty Lee is a reporter and editor who has written for Zagat, Time Out New York, New York Daily News, and Cooking Channel. At all other times: an eater of desserts, aspiring world traveler, and proud Brooklynite. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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1. Nom Wah Tea Parlor 13 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013 (Chinatown)

Located in the heart of Chinatown, Nom Wah has been around in some form since 1920. It's been a bakery, kitchen, and now it's a dim sum specialist and tea house. Today, it still maintains its vintage looks and if you want to taste their claim to fame, order the fried sesame balls with lotus paste and the almond cookie.

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2. The Bao 13 Saint Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003 (East Village)

Amid the clutter of smoke shops, ramen counters, and all-night pizza joints on St. Mark's, there's The Bao, the cool younger sibling to Flushing's Fu Xiao Long Bao. The Shanghainese restaurant serves show-stopping soup dumplings, each made with a delicate wrapper and brothy filling. Whereas most of the contenders for New York's best dumplings are overshadowed on dim sum carts or hidden behind unmarked storefronts, The Bao's dumplings are the spotlight of the menu, and the space is clean cut with repurposed bamboo decor and wooden tables.

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3. Yun Nan Flavour Garden 5121 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220 (Sunset Park)

Noodles may get top billing here, but the dumpling soup is also no quiet sidekick. With plump pork wontons submerged in a spicy, tangy broth that’s a trademark of China’s Yunnan province, the bowl nearly upstages leading actors like the restaurant’s signature crossing bridge noodles.

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4. Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns Ramen 811 8th Ave, New York, NY 10019 (Hells Kitchen)

This place has xiao long bao on steroids -- just like soup dumplings, the filling of sheng jian bao LITERALLY explodes with pork juices, but the sturdier wrapper holds up to some serious pan-frying.

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5. Xi'an Famous Foods 67 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013 (Chinatown)

Named after the resting place of the famous terra cotta soldiers, the Chinatown satellite of this New York City chain boasts incredible fast/casual (but nonetheless authentic) Northern Chinese dishes. Xi'an Famous Foods is also a family-owned chain that, one day at a time, is reintroducing the rich cuisine of their homeland, which includes cold and hand-pulled noodles, soup, and flat bun burgers.

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6. Tianjin Dumpling House 41-28 Main St, Queens, NY 11355 (Flushing)

Between her two restaurants (Dumpling Galaxy being the other), dumpling maven Helen You churns out more than 100 varieties of dumplings. But it’s this must-order classic -- tender pockets filled with gingery minced lamb and sweet summer squash -- that remains tops in our book.

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7. Lhasa Fast Food 37-50 74th St, Jackson Heights, NY 11372 (Queens)

This serious momo specialist is tucked in the back room of cell phone store Tibet Mobile, and from there they dole out basket after basket of Himalayan dumplings made from hand-rolled wrappers and fillings like spiced beef or wild chives. Load on the house-made sauces and you’ve got yourself a deliciously doughy flavor bomb.

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8. Talde 369 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Talde showcases eponymous owner and chef Dale Talde's (of Top Chef fame) BBQ prowess in dishes like BBQ platters piled with brisket, pork shoulder, smoked bacon, shrimp, and black pepper-butter toast. Desserts swing weirdly awesome, from potato chip-crusted cookies with caramel ganache to a shaved ice sundae topped with Cap'n Crunch.

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9. White Bear 135-02 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing, NY 11354 (Queens)

This Chinese spot arguably makes the best dumplings in Flushing. The spot is pretty bare bones (a paper menu is taped to the wall and there are only a few tables), but the chili oil wontons -- served 12 per order on styrofoam plates -- draw lines every weekend. White Bear's menu also includes wonton soups, noodles, and fried rice. All of the dishes hover around $5, so it's safe to say the price is right.

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10. Lam Zhou Handmade Noodle 144 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002 (Chinatown)

You’ll be so busy slurping pliant strands of hand-pulled noodles from the aromatic broth and eating perfectly crisp, thin-skinned pork potstickers, you’ll barely notice the bare-bones service, limited seating, or the occasional dough-stretching smacks coming from the kitchen of this East Broadway noodle house.

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