With no time to head over to Chinatown or take a trip to Flushing, it’s hard to satisfy a true dumpling lover's craving with a budget less than eight bucks in New York City. Dumpling Man, located in Manhattan’s East Village satisfy’s that need for greasy, seared dumplings and is surprisingly easy on the wallet.
What I love about this restaurant is that it truly integrates itself within the quirky, cultured community of the East Village. Dumpling Man’s logo, a cartoon dumpling, attracts pedestrians with its cuteness and lures them into this humble gem. Once inside, the warmth from the steamer, and busy “dumpling ladies” create a cozy place for a quick, fresh bite or take-out on the way home.
The menu is pretty straightforward — Dumplings; steamed or seared. The standard offerings are pork, chicken, shrimp, and my favorite, veggie. These “classic” choices cost as much as $0.75 a la cart to ten pieces for $8.00. For me, that’s a little pricey. What brings me here, however, is the student special. Though I’m not a student, anyone can take advantage of this incredible deal. From 3-5pm Dumpling Man offers six dumplings (of your choice) and a drink for $3.50. That makes only a small dent in my savings and gives me money left over for a late night beer.
As someone who is passionate about seasonal menus a personal favorite of mine is the "surprise" dumplings, which are offered every two months — one vegan/vegetarian, and one for carnivores. My favorite comes around Thanksgiving, when the special dumplings are filled with turkey, yams, and fennel and served with cranberry sauce. It’s a unique spin off the traditional Thanksgiving meal and captures the harvest season quite well. As for dessert offerings, the options here are cheap but usually not worth it. You'll be better off just staying for dumplings and exploring the neighborhood for a sweet treat.
Even though the price is right, the taste is slightly above reasonable for what you’re paying. It’s not your traditional sad looking dumpling that you’d get from that abandoned Chinese take-out place across the street, nor is it so authentic you can find it in China. Dumpling Man creates it’s own niche by taking this comfort food to a fun, creative, tasty level. So, if dumpling is what you crave, give this place a chance, perhaps it will turn into your convenient go-to for dumplings as well.