Fried ones, steamed ones, meat ones, seafood ones…there are so many dumpling options out there, and per usual, I want them all.
Located just off the busy Canal Street in Chinatown, Excellent Dumpling House serves up dumplings, dumplings, dumplings. And some other stuff too, but I made an entire meal just out of dumplings and I’m proud of it. (Disclaimer: I actually did have an order of pork buns as well, but cut me some slack!)
Zagat described the restaurant as having “no atmosphere” and that the service was of the “rush-you-out” type, and that pretty much hits the nail on the head. Like several other Chinatown restaurants I’ve eaten at, its pretty meh inside. Plain tables and chairs with little to no decor–not somewhere you want to spend an evening but guaranteed to have cheap eats.
I kind of love that they have a menu with pictures here. It’s perfect for people who know what their favorite dumplings look like but not what they’re called, especially if it’s something like soup dumplings, which can go by various names like xiao long bao, or as they’re known here, shau lon pau.
My friend and I shared orders of the fried pork dumplings, shrimp dumplings, steamed shau lon pau, vegetable dumplings (which have spinach inside), and those steamed BBQ pork buns, which I love so much. For each type, there were around 5 to 6 dumplings, so I think we might’ve ordered a tad too much. Don’t get me wrong…we ate everything. But we probably could’ve done without a few!
The shau lon pau and shrimp dumplings were my favorites of the batch. Funny story about the fried pork ones though–I took a bite into one of them, all juicy and plump, only to have a huge jet of juice shoot out. I’m not exaggerating here. It was a legit jet that shot out across the table that seemed like it was never going to end. My friend watched it all go down from across the table and he can attest to the ridiculousness. It was weird, but dang, it was funny. I was not expecting those to be almost as full of liquid as a soup dumpling, so I offer up this anecdote as a warning to you. Carry on!
Besides dumplings, there’s standard Chinese fare like noodle soup, chow fun, sweet and sour chicken, egg rolls, fried rice, and duck amongst other things. The scallion pancakes are supposed to be quite good as well, and I would’ve tried some if I wasn’t so set on going on a dumpling rampage.
What kind of dumplings are your favorite? Which could you do without? At Excellent Dumpling House, the choice is yours, and I’d love to hear what you think!
Steamed BBQ pork buns, fried pork dumpling, shrimp dumpling, steamed shau lon pau, vegetable dumpling
111 Lafayette St
New York, NY 10013