Yesterday was such a nice day that it warranted a long walk. This time the long walk took me out to Sunset Park. Brooklyn’s Chinatown is basically bakeries, grocery stores and odd mini-markets consisting of 50% diapers/baby formula and 50% cooking ingredients.
For this particular adventure, I wanted to check out some dumplings which were rumored to be both good and cheap compared with Manhattan. Crossing over to 8th avenue and 40th street, the neighborhood changes. Store signs are in both English and Chinese characters. It wasn’t long before I hit the wonderfully named Great Taste Dumpling. The first good sign: Chinese people were eating in the modest establishment. The second good sign: they sell 8 types of dumplings. Third good sign: The prices for dumplings were all $3 or less. It smelled amazing inside.
Walking to the counter, I was greeted by a tired middle-aged man with his baseball hat turned slightly sideways. Aside from when he was cooking and taking orders, his eyes were inevitably closed. I suspect his hat was turned at an angle because he was too exhausted to move it back. The long hours as a restaurant owner must be crazy.
For the amazing price of $2 for 8 boil pork and chive dumplings, it has to be one of the best deals in town. Using the watered down sriracha and soy sauce on the table I created a dipping sauce. These babies were piping hot but delicious. They’re not stingy with the chives and the garlic and salt came through. For $2 how could you argue? Spotted on the menu, mung bean porridge which they were out of. That will have to be next time. Great Taste Dumpling is located at 4317 8th Avenue @44th. I learned today via OpenCity that the establishment is locally famous including being written up in Bon Appetit, Village Voice and other outlets. It sounds like they’re barely breaking even so if you’re in the area check them out.
Full on dumplings, I walked down the block. As is often the case in ethnic enclaves, the produce was much cheaper than regular grocery stores. At “Buy Best” grocery I picked up: Chili Oil (I’d read in Jen Lin Liu’s Serve the People how it’s used often as a condiment with dumplings), and for later eating Lychee Ice Cream.
On the way home, there was a food cart selling grilled chicken, fishballs and what looked like tofu. A stick of three was only a dollar. The proprietor added a touch of chili powder. It was spicy, crisped nicely on the edges and most definitely not tofu, but rather fish. Finally, it was hard to resist $0.99 Bubble Tea at Bubbly Tea shop. Have you tried any dumpling places in this neighborhood? What do you recommend? See also my previous Sunset Park Food Adventure.