It’s no secret that if you’re looking for a cheap meal in New York City, you go get some dumplings in Chinatown. There are quite a few places there where you can get 4 to 5 dumplings for around $1-$2. And to add to the awesomeness, you can even order like 40 frozen dumplings for something around $8. So, basically, if you’re running low on money and food, just go “grocery shopping” at one of these dumpling places and you’ll be set.
When I first went to one of these incredibly cheap dumpling shops, I was dumfounded. After moving to NYC, I had to mentally adjust to what was a “normal” amount to pay for dinner aka much more than I was used to. Now with places like this, I was shocked because they weren’t just cheap, they were the cheapest dumplings I’ve ever come across. I’m used to paying around $8 or something when I order 5 or so dumplings at an Asian restaurant. Now my world was being turned upside down because I could get that many for a buck OR pay how much I would normally pay and get like 8 times the amount of delicious dumplings. INSANITY.
A fellow co-worker brought me to the Vanessa’s Dumplings by Union Square during our lunch break. She explained to me that although there was also a Vanessa’s Dumplings in Chinatown, there was another location right by our office. Perfect! This Gramercy location is pretty gigantic compared to other dumpling places where you can barely fit five people inside because there were quite a few tables and a long counter. When we got there, the line was almost out the door with the lunch rush, but it moved quickly enough and we still managed to get a table.
I ordered 4 pan-fried chives and pork dumplings (you can also get them boiled) along with a sesame pancake filled with grilled chicken (there’s various filling options for both the dumplings and sesame pancake). It seemed like a lot of people there were getting this combination of a sesame pancake and an order of dumplings. I had actually never had a sesame pancake before, and I quickly found out that it was less like a pancake and more like a sandwich with thick yet spongy sesame bread. I loved it! And, of course, the dumplings were great, because they were made fresh and had a crisp outside that wasn’t too soggy or oily.
So, how much did all of it end up costing me? A grand total of $5. Can you believe it? You really can’t beat that price. Well, except for the fact that this location of Vanessa’s Dumplings is supposedly more expensive than their other location. I can’t even.
Sesame pancake with grilled chicken and 4 pan-fried chives & pork dumplings
220 E 14th St
New York, NY 10003