I'm having tea with Helen You in her palatial new restaurant, where we're about to cook my favorite dumplings in the world. There may be other kitchens on earth making fat boiled dumplings stuffed with lamb and summer squash, but none make them like Helen's.
'Dumpling' on Serious Eats
With bright pink chunks of plump shrimp veiled in thin, stretchy, translucent dough, har gow—crystal-skinned shrimp dumplings—may well be the most popular dim sum classic of all. You may think there's a lot of difficult technique involved in getting those shrimp so plump and the skins so delicate, but it's really much easier than it seems.
Plump and juicy, with chunks of shrimp barely visible through translucent dough, har gow are one of the most widely recognized dim sum classics. Ours enhance the shrimp with bits of pork fat in a stretchy, delicate wrapper.
Ever since having my first taste of a Xiao Long Bao—variously referred to as "soup dumplings" or "juicy steamed buns" on American Chinese menus—I've yearned to taste them at the source in Shanghai. But it turns out that XLB are only half of the soup dumping story.
Of all the pierogi that New York has introduced me to over the years, it's the sweet cheese version that has really stolen my heart. Tangy, creamy, sweet, and cheesy, it straddles the line between savory and sweet, making it perfect to eat no matter the occasion. Here's how to make 'em at home.
The fried sweet cheese pierogi is tangy, creamy, sweet, and cheesy, straddling a line between savory and dessert that makes it perfect to eat no matter the occasion.
Jiaozi, pierogi, ravioli. Nearly every culture offers up its own take on the dumpling. Luckily, here in New York City, it's possible to try as many globe-trotting variations as your heart desires. We've made a list 26 different dumplings worth seeking out.
The key to perfect vegetable dumplings is picking fillings with a contrast of flavors and textures. Ours are stuffed with carrots, cabbage, five-spice tofu, and seitan, all packed into a steamed skin with a crisp, pan-fried bottom. Here's how to make them, step-by-step.
Pan-fried dumplings stuffed with cabbage, carrots, five-spiced tofu, and seitan.
Joong Boo Market just got a little more accessible, with the opening just a few weeks ago of a dumpling stand next to the entrance. In the tiny metal and glass booth, a couple of cooks turn out exactly three items, all priced at $2 each.
Until recently, chicken and dumplings weren't part of my life. The dish has always appealed to me, but on chilly nights, I usually go straight for chicken soup. Plus, I wasn't sure how it would translate to a gluten-free diet. But given how cold this winter's been, we'd grown more than a little tired of chicken soup, so I finally decided to change things up and give a dumpling recipe a run for its money.
When January rolls around, I often struggle to find a compromise between my impulse to dive into plates of rich comfort food and my desire to eat more healthfully. Allison Fishman Task's chicken and dumplings from her new cookbook, Lighten Up, America!, helps to mitigate my problem. By cutting back on the butter and by carefully defatting the broth, Task transforms the traditionally rich dish into a clean-tasting meal with plenty of comfort.
Taiwanese export Din Tai Fung, famed for its xiao long bao and long wait times, just opened their second location in the Seattle area. We stopped by for an early visit to see how the dumplings (plus a whole bunch of other dishes) stack up.
This Vancouver hole-in-the-wall is the kind of place where you look at everyone else's table, get tempted, then order whatever your neighbor is having. The two things you'll see at virtually every table are a steamer basket of xiao long bao (soup dumplings) and a ceramic crock of wine chicken.
First Avenue Pierogi & Deli, a tiny stall of a shop off St. Marks Place, offers an extensive selection of pierogi to eat right away or cook at home. They're not perfect, but they're cheap and satisfying all the same.
The setup couldn't be much simpler: add stock, some pantry staples, scallions, dump in steamed dumplings, and that's dinner. It's part dipping sauce, part soup.
The setup for this part dipping sauce, part soup couldn't be much simpler: add stock, some pantry staples, and scallions, dump in steamed dumplings, and that's dinner.
The name pretty much says it all —these are Hide-Chan's standard fried pork and vegetable gyoza, topped with a layer of mozzarella cheese (think less Joe's Dairy and more Kraft), then broiled the mozz has liquified and formed a golden, bubbly crust. Embrace the gutbomb.
There are plenty of bad wonton soups in Chinatown, but some excellent ones as well. Where should you go for the best? We tasted 23 bowls to find out.