As the most dynamic and diverse Chinatown in all of New York City offering food from all over China, Flushing, Queens, has dozens upon dozens of options for dumplings. If we had to narrow it down to only four, here are our favorites from a deluxe take on soup to dumplings to potstickers that resemble a UFO.
Black truffle soup dumplings at Shanghai Cuisine 33
As if the regular pork and crab xiao long bao—aka soup dumplings or little juicy buns, with their gossamer thin skins packed with steaming crab-scented broth—weren’t luxurious enough this Shanghai eatery has upped the dumpling ante by using a luxury ingredient seldom seen in Chinatown: black truffles. Hei song lu xiao long bao, or black truffle soup dumplings are luxurious little purses that arrive smelling of truffle. The translucent dumplings are filled with pork and bits of the precious mushroom, the broth heady with truffles.
Shanghai Cuisine 33, 57-33 Main St., Flushing, 718-353-5791
Pork and leek potstickers at Li’s
The name of this stall in the New World Mall Food Court might be Li’s Lanzhou Hand Stretched Noodles but they have the best pan-fried dumplings in New York City. The crew at Li’s cooks their potstickers or go tie in a radial pattern resembling an asterisk—spokes on a wheel of deliciousness, if you will. Each open-ended dumpling is packed with a delectable mixture of loosely ground pork and leeks. They’re juicy as all get-out, and the thin, crisp sheet of dough between each dumpling makes for fun eating.
Li’s Lanzhou Hand Stretched Noodles, No. 12, New World Mall Food Court, 136-20 Roosevelt Ave. Flushing, NY
Wontons in chili oil, White bear
Stand before the counter looking confused and it won’t be long before one member of this mom-and-pop shop asks/commands, “No. 6? Take a seat.” Wonton with hot sauce, aka No. 6, is all practically anyone orders at this tiny storefront. After taking that seat you’ll soon be presented with a plate containing a dozen ivory-skinned wonton sitting in a shallow pool of chili oil and strewn with chives and bits of pickled mustard green. The combination of ethereal dumplings along with the spicy oil and crunchy, salty mustard green is nothing less than a gastronomic tour de force.
White Bear, 135-02 #5 Roosevelt Ave., Flushing, 718-961-2322
The burnished dumpling eight-pack is listed on the menu as triple delight dumplings, but if you ask the lady behind the counter you’ll learn they’re called sheng jian bao. Like another of our favorite dumplings these babies are served upside down the better to see crackling golden brown bottoms fused together by a sheet of dough. The triple delight turns out to be egg, mushroom, and pork. These not-so-little marvels are half between fried dumplings and steamed buns. A tad oily, they are nonetheless fun to eat, especially the shatteringly crunchy web of dough that binds them together.
Lu Wei, No. 14, New York Food Court, 33-35 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing