As a self-proclaimed dumpling fanatic, you can imagine my excitement upon learning that an entire galaxy of dumplings had opened up inside a bizarre shopping mall on Flushing’s Main Street.
I speak of course of Dumpling Galaxy, the latest offering from dumpling queen Helen You of Tianjin Dumpling House. From the mall lobby, the place looks like it’s set inside a glowing picture frame. Inside, the modern decor features a backsplash of traditional Chinese red. Along the wall, deep semi-private booths are fitted with television sets that show … you guessed it, dumplings!
Ah, the dumplings. The booklet-sized menu showcases a vast array of them broken out into categories, with entire sections dedicated to lamb, duck, pork, chicken, vegetable, and fish dumplings. Most dumplings are simply boiled, but some are steamed or pan fried. Prices are attractive, too, at about $5-$8 for an order of six.
The dumplings are pillowy and juicy. Duck with mushrooms was one of my favorites, with just the right amount of meatiness. Lamb and cilantro dumplings were very rich, too much for some of us, just perfect for others. Scrambled egg and asparagus dumplings were nice and light. Seafood dumplings were delicate and unusual, like cod with roe and a delightfully light steamed fish with chives.
The dumplings are meant to be dipped in black vinegar and soy, with perhaps a splash of chili oil, eaten in a bite or two so as to enjoy juiciness. Every order comes with its own little dishes of dipping sauces, so everyone can have their own and double-dip to their hearts’ content.
Oh yeah, there’s other things on the menu besides dumplings. Looking around, every table had a pile of bamboo shoots, braised and tossed with glistening chili oil. Nice and spicy. Big flavors.
Anyway back to the main event. Pan-fried chicken dumplings arrived – six of them whimsically stuck in a circular disk of fried batter, hanging upside down on the plate. They were fantastic, crispy and juicy, and we loved breaking them out from the batter with our chopsticks.
In fairness, I can’t say that the dumplings are the best around – given the choice, I’d go for the soup dumplings at Joe’s Shanghai or Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns Ramen, the chive dumplings at East Harbor, or perhaps even the spicy shrimp wontons at Vanessa’s (and the dumplings we make ourselves are not half-bad). But it’s the variety that makes Dumpling Galaxy stand out. In a medium where pork and shrimp are the staples, it’s refreshing to see just how varied the humble dumpling can be.
Recommended dishes: Duck and mushroom dumplings ($6.95), cod with roe dumplings ($7.95), fish and chive steamed dumplings ($6.95), pan-fried dumplings ($6.95); braised bamboo shoots ($5.95).