New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

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Dumping your misfortunes behind: Celebrate the Lunar New Year with these delectable dumpling spots

Here’s where you can get meat pockets of prosperity in Manhattan’s Chinatown to ring in the Lunar New Year.

As the Lunar New Year approaches it comes with the arrival of new beginnings and reunions. Dumplings emerge as more than a staple dish; they symbolize prosperity and familial warmth. It takes on the shape of a sycee or yuanbao, a type of gold or silver ingot that served as currency in imperial China. Each dumpling, meticulously wrapped by hand, encases succulent fillings, hopes and blessings for the year ahead.

In celebration of this rich tradition, we’ve handpicked a list of unique dumpling destinations in Manhattan’s Chinatown, where the flavors of the Lunar New Year come alive. These places offer deep dives into the festival’s rich culture, and masterfully serve the traditional dish at the heart of the festivities.

The locations below resemble that of a classic 苍蝇馆子, a close English equivalent to hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Although the direct translation is “fly restaurant,” I assure you there’s no need to worry about flies when dining in. “Fly” refers to the miniature size of the restaurant; the term is used to describe restaurants that aren’t equipped with fancy decorations but serve affordable and delicious delicacies. Embracing the essence of 苍蝇馆子, these select spots are gems for their authenticity and simplicity, proving that the best flavors can come from the most unassuming places.

Shu Jiao Fu Zhou

295 Grand St.

The outside of the restaurant has a sign which states its name in both English and Chinese in red and blue on a white background. It says “Shu Jiao Fuzhou Cuisine.”
Shu Jiao Fu Zhou (Daffa Ariawin for WSN)

This Chinatown icon is the most popular shop on this list with almost 2,000 Google reviews. The shop serves a wide range of authentic Fuzhounese cuisine, and its menu offers generous portions with everything under $5, a value that’s hard to beat. Its varieties of dumpling fillings include all combinations of pork, chicken, cabbages and chives. The dumplings are freshly boiled and best served with the shop’s house-made chili oil. If you find yourself still  craving more, the shop offers frozen dumplings that you can boil at home at a more than reasonable cost of $12 for 50 pieces. Besides the dumplings, the thick and nutty wheat noodles with peanut butter sauce are also a must-try.

Wu’s Wonton King

165 E. Broadway

An employee clears a table in a restaurant. Some tables in the restaurant are empty while others have customers eating food. Pictures of food are hung all around the interior.
Wu’s Wonton King (Spriha Jha for WSN)

Right across the F train on Rutgers Street, Wu’s Wonton King offers an authentic dive into traditional Chinese cuisine. The restaurant’s wontons take a different approach, contrary to conventional dumplings, with a symphony of flavor encased in delicately thin wrappers. The star of the menu, “NY’s No.1 wonton soup,” is a comforting delight of savory broth packed with succulent shrimp, pork and watercress wontons at just under $11. Beyond wontons, the menu also includes a variety of dim sum and other Chinese specialties, such as Peking duck platters. The restaurant’s generous portions are especially good for dining out with large parties if you want to try diverse variations of Chinese culinary traditions.

Fried Dumpling

106 Mosco St.

Several people stand outside of a restaurant which has a black and white exterior with red and green Chinese characters.
Fried Dumpling (Naomi Mwai for WSN)

Fried Dumpling, a no-frills spot nestled in the heart of Chinatown, serves up simplicity at its finest. The establishment has perfected the art of pan-frying dumplings to a crisp while keeping the inside juicy and flavorful. The dumplings are available at an unbeatable price of $1.25 for five pieces and offer a crispy exterior that gives way to a hot, meaty filling, earning a loyal following among locals and visitors alike. Spending the price of a coffee, you can get yourself 30 pieces of frozen dumplings to celebrate the Lunar New Year at home. If you visit on a breezy day, Fried Dumpling’s hot and sour soup suits the cold weather. The menu may be limited, but the quality and value of the dishes make it a must-visit for anyone craving a quick, delicious bite without denting their wallet.

King Dumplings

74 Hester St.

A graffiti-covered storefront with the words “King Dumplings” spray-painted above the door. There is a large menu hung up in the window of the store.
King Dumplings (Matt Petres for WSN)

Need help deciding on fried or boiled dumplings? You can try both at King Dumplings, a hidden gem that offers an expansive array of dumplings appealing to a wide range of palates. From traditional pork and chive to more adventurous modifications such as veggie-based wrapping, each dumpling is a testament to the care and tradition baked into its preparation. The restaurant’s boiled dumplings are as cheap as $4, and you can get fried dumplings too. In addition to dumplings, King Dumplings offers a wide range of savory bites, from fish ball noodle soup to scallion pancakes. However, only a few tables are available for dine-in, so be prepared to order takeout and satisfy your taste buds at home.

Jojo Duck

131 Walker St.

Two people order their food from an employee. On display are a variety of dumplings and other food. The restaurant is decorated with red lanterns, posters and a lucky cat.
Jojo Duck (Naomi Mwai for WSN)

Jojo Duck is your go-to spot when you’re craving something tasty but don’t have the time to dine in. This literal hole-in-the-wall packs a punch with its delicious marinated meats. Its mouthwatering duck, beef, chicken and veggies are perfect for jazzing up any meal, especially if you’re looking to impress at a potluck or just want some good eats while binging on Netflix. And, of course, the spot also serves dumplings with fillings like leek pork, lamb and beef, but they are a bit on the pricier side, selling 40 pieces for $25 to $27, but worth it for the convenience and flavor.

Contact Jack Dai at [email protected].

About the Contributor
Matt Petres, Photo Editor
Matt Petres is a first-year studying Economics. He is from Chicago, Illinois and likes to bike and kayak. You can contact him on Instagram @matt.petres
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