04/21/15 11:54am

A Duo of Dumpling Discoveries, Down-home and Deluxe

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Sheng jian bao at New York Food Court.

There are so many dumplings in the bustling and delicious Chinatown of downtown Flushing that keeping track of them all would be a lifelong task. A task for which I am ill-equipped. Perhaps that xiao long bao obsessive guy whose exhaustive soup dumpling survey is making its way around the interwebs will come to Queens one day, calipers and scale in hand. Until he does I will muddle along as best as I can. That being said, let’s talk about two of my favorite new dumplings.

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How now, sheng jian bao?

“Where did you get that,” I asked some dudes at New York Food Court who were carrying a tray of gigantic round dumplings bound together with a crispy brown sheet of dough. They pointed to No. 14, Lu’s Taste, or Lu Wei. I’d eaten myself silly that day, so I didn’t order the octet of mystery dumplings, but I made a mental note to return with a crack team of eaters.

They burnished dumpling eight-pack is listed on the menu as triple delight dumplings ($7.99), but the lady behind the counter told me they’re called sheng jian bao. Like another of my favorite dumplings these babies are served upside down the better to see crackling golden brown bottoms fused together by a sheet of dough. The triple delight turns out to be egg, mushroom, and pork. These not-so-little marvels are half between fried dumplings and steamed buns. A tad oily, they are nonetheless fun to eat, especially the shatteringly crunchy web of dough that binds them together.

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Shanghai 33’s black truffle soup dumplings.

My second dumpling discovery can be had at Shanghai 33. The restaurant is my favorite place in Flushing for soup dumplings, specifically crab and pork ones. They recently added hei song lu xiao long bao, or black truffle soup dumplings ($12) as a special. “Challenge your sense of taste,” read the specials board “Black truffle soup dumplings.”

The luxurious little purses arrive smelling of truffle. The translucent dumplings are filled with pork and bits of the precious mushroom, the broth heady with truffles. They are probably not as luxurious as those served at Red Farm and Din Tai Fung, but are nonetheless quite nice. Black truffle dumplings as well as the crab and pork were not considered in Christopher St. Cavish’s Shanghai Soup Dumpling Index. The exhaustive study focused solely on pork xiao long bao. St. Cavish doesn’t know what he’s missing.

Lu Wei, No. 14, New York Food Court, 33-35 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing
Shanghai Cuisine 33, 57-33 Main St., Flushing, 718-353-5791

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