Tag Archives: dumplings

Barn Joo

I recently had a meal here when celebrating a friends birthday party. Here’s a quick rundown of everything I tried:

This chicken with peanuts dish was really tasty. Nicely fried morsels of dark meat.

These fried beef dumplings were better still. I could have eaten a dozen.

While I’m not a huge tofu guy, these fried cubes were pretty tasty. I’d eat them again, but definitely not over the other two apps above.

Next up, beef noodles. These were ultimately pretty middle-of-the-road. Nothing stand-out about them.

The star of the show, however, was this pork belly dish. So much nice quality belly, with some chiccharones and a great spicy bean curd dip to boot. Awesome.

The octopus was perfectly cooked and had a great crunchy texture on the outside, but there was just something about it that bugged me. It had a flavor that reminded me of the smell of dried fish food. Perhaps it was something added on top for seasoning.

Lastly, their pickles and kimchi items are superb here. Some of the best I’ve had.

I would definitely go back here again.

BARN JOO
35 Union Square W
New York, NY 10003

Excellent Dumpling House (23rd)

This joint was PACKED on a Friday evening when my wife and I came in for a quick bite. There’s another joint named Excellent Dumpling House in Chinatown. It has yet to be determined whether this is owned by the same folks.

Anyway, I was fighting off a cold, so I ordered a bowl of chicken dumpling noodle soup. It was pretty great, especially with some of their spicy chili oil.

I also tasted some of my wife’s soup dumplings, which were.. shall I say… excellent? Ha! Maybe. I mean they were constructed properly, cooked nicely… no ripping… But perhaps I haven’t had enough XLBs to really say what is excellent or just above average.

EXCELLENT DUMPLING HOUSE
165 W 23rd St
New York, NY 10011

Thaimee at McCarren

NOTE: THIS PLACE IS NOW CLOSED

Restaurateur and food scene influencer Matt Bruck recently partnered with Chef Hong Thaimee to open Thaimee at the McCarren Hotel.

The restaurant is bright, spacious and gorgeous, with open-kitchen views into the back so you feel like you are part of the action.

The bar is a beautiful, orchid-spotted stretch with seating for about 10 people that boasts a flavorful and inspired cocktail menu, as well as some choice wines and sake.

From what I understand, the cocktail menu is currently expanding as well, so there will be even more to choose from.

The food menu is well-crafted: not too extensive, and not too small. And with Chef Hong back there doing her thing, each dish is executed with precision and perfection.

Since we tried a bunch of stuff here, I will get right down to business.

Caveat: this place has seen some buzz regarding their magic color-changing noodles.

Although I was interested to see them in action, I felt like those babies were all over Instagram already, so I wanted to try some stuff that no one else has reviewed.

Crab Cake: Beautifully presented and packed a lot of great flavor.

Tom Yum Soup: Easily one of the better versions of this Thai classic that I’ve ever tried. Tangy and robust.

Rabbit & Noodles: Perfectly cooked and tender. The batter is thick – puffy and soft on the inside, but crisp on the outside. A big winner.

Fried Ribs: Excellent. This is a must-have dish when you come here. They’re crispy, juicy and tasty. Also a big winner.

Squash Curry: As a meat man, I was surprised at how much I liked this squash dish. It was filling, satisfying, and packed with delicious Thai style curry flavors. It’s also incredibly beautiful.

Dumplings: These babies are so colorful and tasty. Veggie and peanut filling, topped with coconut and chili oil. Colors and fillings may change daily.

Thai Basil Scrambled Egg: So simple but so perfectly executed and delicious. I highly recommend this for the table.

Pumpkin Donuts: These are great for sharing at the table as well. They’re heavier than classic fried donuts, so they will chip away at your hunger and satisfy you.

Pomelo Salad: Tart, refreshing, and well balanced, this is a great way to open up your taste buds or cleanse your palette between courses.

Pad Thai Carbonara: This is hands-down the best Pad Thai I’ve ever had. There are chunks of thick cut bacon and a raw egg yolk to mix in. It really works! And the presentation is fun too. We picked shrimp as our main protein.

Chocolate Chili Souffle: I’m not a huge chocolate enthusiast, but I liked the hit of chili on top. It made this dessert pop.

Pumpkin Flan: Very smooth, and really nice flavors. I liked the candied pumpkin seeds and crispy squash on top as garnish.

I think that about does it. You should definitely get over here for the rabbit, the ribs, the squash, the soup, and especially the Pad Thai. You won’t be disappointed.

THAIMEE AT MCCARREN
160 N 12th St
Brooklyn, NY 11249

Flame

Flame is a pretty large hibachi joint on the upper west side. I was recently invited in for a hibachi meal with a bunch of lunatic foodies.

They put on a great show here, I must say.

We started off with a pair of shrimp.

Then some fried rice and veggies.

And then the steaks came out!

Very simply prepared, and nicely cooked.

As far as hibachi goes, this is one of the best I’ve experienced. But that’s not where the action stops. They also serve a variety of nice dumplings, sushi and other seafood.

Everything was great; especially that miso octopus tentacle. I highly recommend this joint. There’s a lot of space, really beautiful tables and decor, and even some really nice mixed cocktails.

FLAME
100 W 82nd St
New York, NY 10024

White Bear

My buddy and I stopped into White Bear after a Charcuterie event in Flushing to try some dumplings / wontons in hot chili oil. The funny part is that the woman working there just brought out the plate of dumplings before we even ordered.

But I guess it kind of makes sense: Every white person that was in before and after us within the 20 minute span of time we were there ordered the same thing. She knew.

For $6 you get an order of 12. They were very tasty and well made.

WHITE BEAR
135-02 Roosevelt Ave
Flushing, NY 11354

Yaso Tangbao

Soup dumplings are some of the most amazing things to eat. That burst of thick, viscous deliciousness is like nothing else in the food world. So when two friends of mine hosted an Instagram event at Yaso Tangbao, a dumpling and noodle joint in Brooklyn, I was psyched. First, I captured this footage of the guys making the dumplings. Check it out:

Then, of course, I gorged my face off on this shit. There were three varieties of soup dumpling, the best of which was the spicy (with red powder on top).

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These are some of the best I’ve tried. The pouches never ripped or stuck to the paper beneath – and the flavors inside were always robust and packing great depth.

We also tried some other fun stuff:

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Along with a shitload of noodle dishes. The one with the meatballs was amazing. Those meatballs are really soft and tender, made with pork.

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As far as straight up meat goes, this place also slings some killer ribs.

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And while this whole fish dish isn’t on the menu (staff caught it the day before and served it to us special), one awesome thing at this place is a water cooler filled with soy sauce. Yup.

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YASO TANGBAO
148 Lawrence St
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Northern Tiger

This stand at Hudson Eats slings some decent dumplings and noodles.

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My wife, a friend and I came here after a crazy chocolate event at ICE to get something a little savory to balance the palate.

We tried an order of their special kung pao chicken dumplings.

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These were chock full of good quality chicken, but they were a bit over-sauced and dense. Good flavors though.

The next dumplings we tried were some pan seared pork and chive fuckers.

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These were much better. They had great texture and contained the right balance of juices and meat inside. Very nice.

Finally, we tried an order of sour and spicy chicken noodles.

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This contained two types of noodles: spaghetti-like clear “glass noodles,” and wide, flat noodles.

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I think they could have used a hit of spice to them, but the chicken meat was high quality and the flavors worked. This place is worth a shot if you’re in the area, especially for the pan seared pork dumps.

NORTHERN TIGER
At Hudson Eats
225 Liberty St
New York, NY 10281

Joy Luck Palace

Joy Luck Palace is a new dim sum mega-hall in Chinatown that took over the space from older dim sum mega-halls Grand Harmony and 98 Crystal Palace.

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In classic dim sum style, carts are pushed around the restaurant offering delicious bites of dumplings. Confusing wafts of hot sterno and crystal shrimp shumai overwhelm you when you enter the large space. But soon, your nose settles in and your stomach takes over.

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There really isn’t a bad item here. There are just some that are way more successful than others. Some seem like they are purely for affectation or Instagram fodder, while others are truly inspired culinary genius. In addition to those fun items, there are plenty of tried and true dim sum classics. And everything is cheap!

Since we came here with a big group of food bloggers and high-traction Instagrammers, we were able to sample almost every item on the dim sum menu. As such, I’m going to hit you with a photo-dump style review, where I highlight my favorites here and there with extra words other than the identity of the dish. I will say that this is one of the better dim sum joints I have been to, so I definitely recommend giving it a try.

Shrimp and pork:

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Stewed pork meat:

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Sticky sweet rice inside these leaves:

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Veggie dumplings:

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Beef rolled up in wide, flat noodles:

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Same thing with shrimp here – both were good:

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Another shot of the shrimp and pork:

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One of my favorites is next: a fried pastry cruller wrapped in a wide rice noodle and then topped with soy dumpling sauce, green onion and cilantro. The play of different textures here was awesome.

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These doughy pig buns are deceiving. They look like they might be porky and savory, but they were very sweet with an egg filling; more like a dessert. Very nice for Instagram posting.

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That was a kiss of death:

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Savory yet sweet pork bun:

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There’s BBQ pork inside this flaky dough:

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Assorted shrimp dim sum:

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I’m a huge fan of tofu skin. Below is tofu skin wrapped around chicken. Very nice as well.

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Assorted shrimp dim sum:

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Beef meatballs:

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Dim sum for days:

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The tripe was a bit rubbery for my liking:

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Savory filling inside this noodle nest:

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These had a savory filling inside as well, not the expected sweet red bean paste that you often see in Asian pastry shops and bakeries. The outside “shell” is more like that gummy rice flour dough:

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This noodle dish just needed a bit more salt, otherwise the texture and flavors were great:

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Another favorite here. This is called “Buddhist’s Paradise.” Inside the noodle wrapper is a fried vegetable spring roll. Another awesome texture combination with winning flavors.

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Veggie dumplings:

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Another home run was this shrimp roll. Chopped shrimp, shrimp paste “sausage” and veggies are wrapped up in tofu skin and then fried. At first I thought the tofu skin might have been an egg pancake or crepe, but I was mistaken. Absolutely awesome.

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More Instagram fodder here. This carrot-shaped cake/bun is filled with a sweet mashed taro or lotus root type of filling. The outside “shell” is more that same gummy rice flour dough I mentioned in another dish above. But perhaps a savory rabbit meat filling would be a nicer play instead?

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Here’s that carrot with The Hungry Rabbit in the background:

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These short ribs were a bit too chewy/fatty and lacked a grilled or charred flavor, but the sauce and meaty bits were actually pretty tasty. A slight tweak here and there would make them great:

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Shrimp ball ala Trump toupee noodle nest:

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Curried cuttlefish:

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Deep fried bacon wrapped around a shrimp ball with mayo? SURE! These were excellent with chili oil too, instead of the mayo:

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Chicken feet:

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Egg custard tarts:

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Durian fruit pastries:

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So I think that’s a good guide to this joint. If you stick with the basics, and try a few flourishes that I highlighted here and there, with any LUCK you will come away overJOYed… KNEESLAP!

JOY LUCK PALACE
98 Mott St
New York, NY 10013

Square One

For our first meal in Key West, we hit up Square One. The place had a really nice drink menu and food selections, so I figured it was a perfect spot to try.

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The decor is minimalist rustic, if that makes any sense.

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It looks like pig wings have made their way down to Florida. The ones here were a healthy size and tasted really great. They were breaded lightly and fried crisp. The meat was super tender.

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These duck dumplings were a very nice Chinese inspired appetizer as well. The flavors were robust.

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My wife had this nice bowl of mussels, which were actually an appetizer portion but probably big enough for an entree if you are indulging in a few starters.

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The snapper was all gone, but they had some local grouper. It came seared, and served atop some nice soba noodles.

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A couple of days later my wife and I went back to try their flight of bloody mary drinks at breakfast.

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From right to left that’s tomatillo and melon, carrot habanero, yellow tomato and regular tomato. Each was rimmed with a different type of salt to accentuate the flavors within. Really nice.

I had a lobster cobb salad to go with the bloodies. Lots of good quality lobster meat!

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If you’re ever in Key West, I highly recommend this place. It’s great for drinks at the bar or any meal of the day. If native New Yorker Lucas is tending bar, you’ll have a great experience.

Golden Unicorn

My wife picked up a Living Social deal for an eight course Peking duck dinner at Golden Unicorn, which is otherwise famous for its dim sum service. I was pretty impressed overall. But let me babble about a few other things first…

First off, I absolutely love this part of town. East Broadway and the surrounding side streets encircling the Manhattan Bridge still feel like old NYC. Not much has changed, save for a few new buildings poking up here and there. Walking around, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time, possibly even into another country.

This area is the real deal Chinatown, unlike the tourist-laden, knock-off selling, shitty DVD purveying hustle on Canal street. Take a closer look in these parts, or allow a lingering eye to glance into some storefronts, and you’ll spy people working at a ground floor dumpling factory. You’ll see produce, dry goods and health products that most white people have no idea about, and you can’t even read the signs to get more info, because they’re all in Chinese. It has a busy, bustling vibe and I love it.

Okay on to the fucking food. First up was egg drop soup with chicken. This was pretty good, though I did have to add a little bit of hot sauce to punch it up slightly.

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Next were two types of dumplings: crystal shrimp and siu mai. Both were excellent. If you swing by this joint for dim sum, these are some of the delights you can enjoy from the carts. Both were packed with ingredients and nicely steamed.

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Then the spring rolls came out. They didn’t look like much, but they had great flavor. I was actually surprised, although they were a little bit too greasy on the shell.

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Our waitress then brought out the Peking duck. YES!

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She cut off a good deal of the crispy skin and more generous portions of meat, and, with that, assembled six steamed buns for us, accompanied by hoisin sauce, scallion and cucumber. They were awesome. Crispy, fatty, juicy… all around excellent.

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The rest of the duck was chopped up for us and served on a plate:

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The meal kept on trucking along with this ginger beef and broccoli dish. The ginger was fresh and sliced thin. The beef was tender and flavorful. I think it was a mix of flank and rib eye. And the broccoli was steamed in the sauce, so it tasted awesome.

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There was also some fried rice with shrimp, roast pork, ham, peas, onion and egg. We were really too full to dig into this too far.

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At the end of the meal, some honeydew and orange arrived at the table. A nice, refreshing, smiley-face looking end to the meal.

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Excellent deal. Jump on it if you see another Living Social or Groupon offering for this place. And definitely check out their dim sum on the weekend for lunch.

GOLDEN UNICORN
18 E. Broadway
New York, NY 10002