Because I've written pretty extensively about Chinese food and teach dumpling classes every month at the Brooklyn Brainery, I often get asked where are the best places to get dumplings around New York (other than home or in class.)
So a few months ago, I created the NY Dumpling Project, where you can follow along for recommendations for dumplings around New York. And not just Chinese dumplings, but also Korean, Russian, Polish, Italian, and Uzbek dumplings...with many more nationalities to come! The beauty of dumplings is that many countries around the world have their own versions, and these little nuggets of fillings wrapped in dough are pure comfort food with characteristics unique to their places of origin.
But of course, China is where dumplings originated, about a millennium ago. Periodically on this blog, I'll round up some favorites from the NY Dumpling Project. Today we'll start with the best Chinese dumplings in Brooklyn. (It's my borough, and when weekend train schedules go bonkers, which is every weekend, these dumplings shops are where I turn to the most.)
1. Wontons in Chili Oil (Sichuan Wontons) at Han Dynasty (City Point Shopping Center, 1 Dekalb Ave, Downtown Brooklyn) - Han Dynasty, a Sichuan mini-chain from Philly, used to have just one New York outpost, in the East Village. Lines were super long, even just to get take-out. Then the Dumpling Gods shone down on us and Han Dynasty opened a location in the basement of Dekalb Market in downtown Brooklyn. The Wontons in Chili Oil are a must-order. Be aware that all of the dishes at Han Dynasty, including the wontons, differ in spiciness levels depending on who's cooking in the kitchen that day. But whether your wontons come flaming hot or just mildly spiced, rest assured you'll want to just slurp up this addictive sauce.
2. Pork and sweet corn dumplings at Kathy's Dumplings (7924 3rd Ave, Bay Ridge) - Kathy's Dumplings is such a little gem in Bay Ridge. My favorites here are the pork and sweet corn dumplings, wrapped in violet cabbage juice wrappers. The dumplings are wrapped and steamed to order, which means you'll wait a bit longer for dumplings here than at other shops around the city, but the difference in flavors is noticeable. Definitely also explore the other menu options, including the salads, pancakes, and bubble teas.
3. Any of the soup dumplings at Yaso Tangbao (148 Lawrence St, Downtown Brooklyn, or 253 36th St., Industry City ) - This fast-casual spot specializes in soup dumplings that are much better than any of the restaurants that drawn long lines in Manhattan's Chinatown. The classic pork soup dumplings are my favorites, though the new chicken soup dumplings with activated charcoal wrappers are pretty swell too (and no, they don't turn your mouth black.) There are two locations, one in downtown Brooklyn and another in Industry City.
4. Pan-Fried Juicy Pork Dumplings at East Wind Snack Shop (471 16th St, Windsor Terrace) - There *is* truth in advertising. These little morsels are so juicy that you'll feel like you're eating pan-fried soup dumplings. Chef Chris Cheung is a New York native who opened this little shop on the Park Slope / Windsor Terrace border after working at Nobu and Vong. The cozy vibe and inventive snacks menu remind me very much of Hong Kong eateries. And Cantonese snack fans rejoice: this is one of the few places outside Chinatown to get fresh Hong Kong egg waffles.
5. Hot Oil Wontons at Dumplings & Things (375 5th Ave., Park Slope) - Also Sichuan wontons, these are not as spicy as #1 from Han Dynasty, but still very tasty. In warm weather, get a container to go and eat your wontons outside at the picnic area at Old Stone House or in Prospect Park.
6. (No photo yet) All the dim sum dumplings from Pacificana (813 55th St. Sunset Park) - This is by far my favorite dim sum restaurant in New York, and the har gow and shu mai and other dim sum favorites don't disappoint. And there's actually ample space here for dim sum carts. Plan to arrive before 11am on weekends to avoid a long wait.
Do you have any favorite Chinese dumplings in Brooklyn (or elsewhere in New York) to recommend? Let me know in the comments below!