The European market inspired Winter Market has returned to New York’s Bryant Park, bringing a skating rink and 170 shopping kiosks and food vendors to support the holiday shopping season. This year’s line-up of vendors provides multiple dumpling dining options.
The Bun Ramen kiosk serves Sheng Jian Bao, pan fried beef, pork, chicken or vegan dumplings, steamed mixed vegetable or chicken dumplings and steamed shrimp shumai. A major problem with Bun Ramen is that they only have two small fry pans in which to cook the dumplings. As a result they pre-cook the pan-fried dumplings and stock-pile them in to-go containers, then when a customer places an order they micro-wave the dumplings before serving them. My order of pan-fried and then micro-waved vegan dumplings looked like they had exploded in the to-go container, it was a mess of over-cooked dumpling wrapper and steaming vegetables. After I saw the dumpling disaster they had served me, I went back to the kiosk and asked for a fresh serving of dumplings straight from the fry pan. It turns out, that when fresh, their vegan pan-fried dumplings were quite good. If you decide to try Bun Ramen, make sure you get the fresh cooked, pan-fried dumplings straight from the fry-pan; if they try to give you some micro-waved dumplings refuse them.
Wonton Tiva was founded on National Dumpling Day, 2018 with the tag line “Hawaiian Handmade Wontons”. The owner’s family is from Hawaii and he claims to be making wontons using his grandma’s recipe. Wonton Tiva serves three styles of deep fried wonton: Tiva’s Pork & Scallion which are filled with pork, scallion, garlic, and ginger; Papu’s Tofu & Veggie which are filled with tofu, cabbage, carrot, scallion and ginger; and Chicken and Mushroom filled with marinated chicken, mushroom, garlic and spices. The wontons come with two sauce options: Hot Soy Mustard made with soy, hot Asian mustard, rice vinegar, honey and toasted sesame; and Sweet Pineapple Chili made with pineapple juice with apple cider vinegar, garlic and red chili. The Papu’s wonton had a really enjoyable crispy fried crunch, but not a lot of inherent flavor. However, when dipped in the Hot Soy Mustard and used as a sauce delivery vehicle they were excellent.
The Pierogi Boys kiosk is in the covered Lodge market space near the skating rink. They sell Potato & Cheese pierogi with caramelized onions and sour cream, Sauerkraut & Mushroom pierogi with mushroom gravy and herbs and Meat pierogi with meat gravy and herbs. While I was dealing with Bun Ramen’s micro-waved mess of veggie dumplings, my friend grabbed some meat pierogi which are filled with braised beef cheeks and pork butt. As I don’t eat beef all I have to pass along are his comments – he said the blend of beef and pork was really tasty, the gravy was creamy and the thickness of the dough wrapper was just how he liked it.
In addition to these three options at the Winter Market you can get dumplings and bao at Bao by Kaya and Destination Dumplings.