Somewhere in Asia: Part I

by Marisa Olsen


Tonight I had a double-decker night in Asia: dumplings and Tibetan food. Let me take each of these entities one-by-one and begin with dumplings. A few weeks ago I found myself passing through Chinatown late night suddenly craving dumplings. After very many failed dumpling locator application attempts on an iphone, we gave up and got pizza. But since that day, I have been determined to find a wonderful dumpling house. I found it. Thanks to two co-worker’s suggestions, (double confirmation), I have recently been acquainted with Vanessa’s Dumpling House on Eldridge between Broome and Grand Streets. Vanessa’s is a charming spot, where customers can either order via a take-out window, or simply stand by the counter, indoors and scramble for a table. If this is your maiden voyage, I suggest going inside and ordering at the counter where you can watch your dumplings being steamed fresh in front of your eyes.

We ordered pork and chive dumplings, fried pork buns, and boiled shrimp and vegetable dumplings. The absolute winner was the fried pork dumplings. They’re light, crispy, and bursting with flavor. Soins attention. Literally. Not only are these suckers hot, but their juice will joyfully explode into your mouth. After your first bite, you’ll be able to enjoy the holy trinity: crisp skin, a perfect chunk of savory meat, and the perfect complement of flavorful juice. I suggest ordering the 10 for $2—trust me, you’ll want more. As for the other orders, they were all good, but not none topped the charts. The pork bun was like a glorified dumpling, only with more breading, and was a letdown after all of my recent steamed pork bun encounters. The boiled shrimp were OK as well; nice juicy flavor, but I think it would have been better fried, especially because the shrimp kept falling out of the dough. Lastly, the vegetables needed more seasoning and I also found their dough to be too thick.

But regardless, I suggest going and am excited to try new things on such a budget. Also, Vanessa’s sells frozen dumplings in large quantities—think dinner party!