It has been a tough month eating dumplings, this will be my third mediocre to negative review this month.
Dumpling Man is a small, low key, dumpling snack bar in New York City’s East Village. This spot has an open kitchen where you can see the dumplings being hand made and has two small counters to eat at. You place your order at the front register and when the dumplings are ready they yell out your number for you to come pick up you order. The dumplings are served in paper boats on cafeteria trays and come garnished with some curls of scallion.
The Dumplings. Dumpling Man serves Northern Asian style dumplings that come steamed or seared. The seared dumplings are basically pan-fried on a flat top grill while covered, so they fry and steam at the same time. The wrapper dough is egg and butter free and is colored using vegetable juices and so is vegan. I had the seared vegetable and pork dumplings and both tasted a little of old, burnt fry oil. The one dumpling I really wanted to try, the mustard greens/tofu/mushroom dumpling, was not available when I visited.
The Vegetable Dumplings – The vegetable dumplings are filled with soft tofu, smoked tofu and shiitake mushrooms and are vegan. The dumplings had a very strange and distasteful flavor, I think part of it might have been bitterness from the smoked tofu combined with the burnt oil flavor. One of my dining companions described them as having a barnyard grain flavor. This was the first time in writing this blog that I didn’t finish an order of dumplings.
Kimchi – These dumplings were filled with kimchi, glass noodles, vegetarian ham, scrambled egg and sweet hot dog relish and were really good. The kimchi flavor was hot but not overpowering and the relish added a nice counter balance to the spiciness. The kimchi was finely minced rather than just being a chunk of pickled napa cabbage, the way you sometimes get in kimchi dumplings. My only issue with these dumplings was the inclusion of the egg; it didn’t really add anything to the flavor or mouth feel and prevented these dumplings from being fully vegan. It seems like these would make for an excellent vegan dumpling.
Pork and Chive – The pork and chive dumplings were competent, nothing special, but tasted on burnt fry oil when we were there.
The Dipping Sauce. There are bottles of soy-vinegar sauce, black vinegar and sriracha sauce on the counters and you mix you own blend of sauces in little plastic tubs. The black vinegar is more intense than I have had at other places. Dumpling Man also sells special sauces (Hot Monster, Cool Monster, Asian Tahini, and Green Curry) at $1.50 per serving.
Location. Dumpling Man is New York City’s East Village neighborhood on St Marks Place.
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