"Nothing makes me happier than a really, really good dumpling," says WestHouse staff member Annie. "The pillowy soft outside, the surprising sweet or savory center… I mean, what's better than that?"
Like most New Yorkers, Annie appreciates good food. And though great meals in New York are abundant, finding the best and greatest dumplings have proven to be more challenging. "I'm not exactly picky when it comes to dumplings: I love Chinese dumplings, Greek dumplings, Polish dumplings - basically anything in dumpling form. But I am more discerning when it comes to finding the right balance between a perfectly doughy exterior and unctuously saucy or meaty interior."
Annie fell in love with dumplings after a trip to China: "I'd eaten plenty of potstickers growing up, but I'd never experienced the true range of Chinese dumplings until I visited a friend in Beijing in 2008. She took me to all the local places and pretty quickly my dumpling world opened up. When I moved to New York a few years later, I was suddenly exposed to a new diversity of cuisines I'd never before experienced. Soon enough, I started trying every type of dumpling I could find, and I haven't looked back."
Her passionate research has provided visiting friends and family with a go-to list of preferred and expertly scouted dumpling spots. Take the list and venture out on your own New York dumpling tour:
"Dim Sum is the ultimate setting for a dumpling aficionado, and soup dumplings have got to be my favorite item on every menu. I love taking a newbie out and watching their reaction as they take their first bite of the flavor explosion that is a great soup dumpling. The famous Flushing house Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao (the Chinese name for soup dumplings is Xiao Long Bao) is still my #1 spot. It takes a little bit longer to get there, but the pork or crab and pork soup dumplings are 100% worth the trip."
"Thanks to my Ashkenazi ancestors for engineering my favorite food shape into my favorite part of the meal: dessert. The blintz dances on the border between being a dumpling and a crepe, but I include it in this list because Russ & Daughter's sweet fruit blintz is among the best of its kind in the city."
"Mandu is the name for dumplings in Korean cuisine. You can find them stuffed with kimchi, vegetables, fish or pork. One of the best Mandu I've ever tried were stuffed with pork, leeks and tofu at Her Name is Han. Everything else on the menu is extremely tasty too."
"What's better than a great dumpling? Nothing really, except a great fried dumpling. Samosas are the ultimate comfort food. They're warm, crispy, pillowy and spicy at the same time. To be fair, I've rarely encountered a samosa that didn't make me feel soft and fuzzy on the inside. But the veggie samosas at MasalaWala take the cake."
"Baba's takes you back to basics when it comes to the classic Polish delicacy. The counter-style eatery allows you to custom order your handmade pierogi so you can have it exactly how you like. I go back and forth between the potato and cheese boiled in butter and chives and the jalapeño pan fried with sour cream."