Flushing and Jackson Heights are home to some of the tastiest dumplings in the city. Here’s where to find the best.
Guo tie, Sliced Noodles – Flushing - The name of this outfit is Sliced Noodles, but it’s got some of the most gorgeous, and delicious, dumplings around. The guo tie ($4.75)—pork and chive pot stickers—are incredibly fresh. What makes them really special though is a cooking method that results in a mandala of deliciousness. The octet of juicy, delicate-skinned pot stickers are arranged in a radial pattern connected by a brown web of dough making for some incredibly fun eating. Don’t be surprised if your Chinese table mate asks, “What is that, a pancake?” Sliced Noodles, No. 12, New World Mall Food Court, 40-21 Main St., Flushing (GMAP)
Crab soup dumplings, Diverse Dim Sum – Flushing - The shrimp dumplings and other snacks at the strangely named Diverse Dim Sum in the Flushing Mall are all quite good by food court—and even dim sum parlor—standards. The real standout here though is crab meat xiao long bao (six for $7.50). The thin translucent skins of these Shanghai soup dumplings are packed with savory crustacean-flavored broth and crab meat. Take care when handling these delicate flavor bundles. It is possible both to scald one’s self and spill the delicate broth. The best course of action is to pluck one from the steamer, place it in a soup spoon , and nip a tiny hole in the side. Add some black vinegar and a bit of ginger and then slurp away. Diverse Dim Sum, Flushing Mall Food Court, 133-31 39th Ave., Flushing, 718-395-8188 (GMAP)
Dumplings with Chili Sauce, Little Pepper Sichuan Restaurant – Flushing - Little Pepper, one of downtown Flushing’s finest Sichuan restaurants, left the area about two years ago to move to College Point. A few weeks ago they opened a sister restaurant in their original location devoted for the most part to spicy hot pot. Hidden in the appetizer section of the menu are some of the best dumplings to be found in a Sichuan joint. Dumplings with chili sauce ($4.95), or hong you shui jiao, are made fresh to order. The generous serving of half-moon shaped dumplings arrives in a bowl filled with a red sauce and scattered with sesame seeds and green onions. That red sauce is a thing of wonder. It’s comprised of chili oil, black vinegar, a goodly amount of garlic, and a secret ingredient that the waiter said gives it a sweet flavor. The best thing about these pork filled dumplings is that are not mind-blowingly spicy. Advanced chili heads may wish to bite off a bit of the dumpling and swipe it through the lake of sauce. Little Pepper Sichuan Restaurant, 133-43 Roosevelt Ave., Flushing, 718-690-2206 (GMAP)
Bibim Mandoo, Da Myun Kook Su – Flushing - The tiny tong mandoo at this Korean noodle house are filled with a wonderful mixture of ground pork, zucchini, onion, garlic, pepper, and tofu among other things. The delicately wrapped dumplings are great on their own ($5.95 for 10), but even better as bibim mandoo ($7.95). A ring of ten dumplings surrounds a heap of shredded carrot, cabbage, and cucumber topped with an incendiary sauce. You might start out eating a dumpling with a bite of the slaw and sauce. Odds are that you’ll soon be mixing up the whole lot for a refreshing and spicy dumpling salad. Da Myun Kook Su, 41-10 162 St., Flushing, 347-368-6557 (GMAP)
Wonton with hot sauce, White Bear – Flushing - 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 ($5.50) , 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 (GMAP)
Steamed momo, Potala Fresh Momo – Jackson Heights - Momo, the steamed beef dumplings that are Tibet’s national food, are quite common in the ever-increasing number of Tibetan restaurants in Himalayan Heights. Some of the best can be found at the Potala Fresh Momo cart. The cart is named for the Potala Palace, the chief residence of the Dalai Lama in Tibet before the 1959 uprising. Five bucks buys eight juicy pleated-top dumplings. Be sure to ask for some of the fiery red hot sauce. Eat them standing up at the cart or head around the corner and a grab a seat at the public plaza. Wherever you dine, it’s an enlightening dumpling experience. Potala Fresh Momo, 37th Ave and Broadway, Jackson Heights (GMAP)
Lamb dumplings with spicy and sour sauce, Biang! – Flushing - Suan tang yang rou shui jiao ($5.50), one of the newest dishes at Flushing’s newest spot Biang!, is simply described as lamb dumplings with spicy and sour sauce. Six freshly made dumplings float in a blackish red broth shot through with cilantro and Chinese celery. The al dente dumplings call to mind homemade ravioli, albeit filled with lamb and via Western China. Spicy, sour, and satisfying, it’s a dish that proves David Shi, who started sister chain Xi’an Famous Foods, hasn’t lost his touch. Biang!, 41-10 Main Street Flushing, 718-888-7713 (GMAP)
All images: Joe DiStefano
Food writer Joe DiStefano remembers when Golden Shopping Mall was still a supermarket. These days he lives in Rego Park and tries his very best to live up to the moniker “the guy who ate Queens.” Read more of Joe’s writing on his World’s Fare Blog for Edible Queens. You can also find Joe on Twitter and Facebook.