Monday, March 2, 2009

A solo dumpling-off: Tasty Dumpling and Fried Dumpling

I didn't mean to eat ten dumplings at once, I swear. It's just that when I first walked into Tasty Dumpling on Mulberry Street, the place was entirely filled with high school kids chowing down, which made sitting down with a plateful of the porky morsels impossible. So I walked around the corner to Fried Dumpling on Mosco Street, where amid more kids stuffing their faces there was a single spot at the counter open.

I asked for five fried dumplings and a milk tea, which cost me a buck-fifty altogether (a dollar for the dumplings, fifty cents for the tea). But when I opened up the styrofoam container to dig in, I found that the dumplings were barely browned and cold, hardly the ideal. These dumplings were definitely not in their prime.
The tea, also, was a disgrace—more lukewarm milk with a bit of sugar and tea color than a decent hot cup. And I managed to spill half of it down the front of my coat while juggling my purse and grocery bags while walking out of the place. I regretted the mess on my coat, but not the loss of my tea.
So when I passed Tasty Dumpling again on my way back and saw that the place had cleared out, I couldn't help but take advantage of the sudden table room. I put down my dollar-twenty-five and was rewarded with five large, crisp-bottomed dumplings, piping hot and squirting pork juice with every bite. They would have been worth the wait, had I only had the patience. There's a lesson in there for sure: Hold out for the good stuff!

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