A Proper +/- of the Rickshaw Dumpling Truck


After a few days down on Wall Street, the Rickshaw Dumpling Truck is back in Midtown today- parked on 52nd and Lexington Ave.  Ever since it was announced that the Rickshaw Dumpling Bar (which has two brick and mortar locations in the lower of half of Manhattan) would be opening a truck, there has been a lot of criticism in the comments.  And a lot of it is is warranted. The place is freakin’ expensive. And it’s fancy pants Asian food, not the sort of cheap, authentic Hing Won/Ying Du’ish chinese food we normally praise here on Midtown Lunch.  Who the hell would spend $6 on 6 dumplings, when you can go to Chinatown and get 5 better dumplings for the price of 1 dumpling at the Rickshaw truck. Even with the subway ride there and back it would still be cheaper! 

All of this 100% true.  And yet, it doesn’t mean that nobody will like the Rickshaw Dumpling Truck.  And that’s why we do the +/-

The biggest key to Rickshaw is not comparing it to Chinatown.  It’s two different foods for two different eaters.  One is for people who would be willing to trek 20 mins out of their way to get the cheapest dumplings, in the dirtiest place imagineable.  The other is made for most of the people who work in Midtown.  And while this blog usually rails against the laziness of those who refuse to travel for better food, there is a little party of me that likes Rickshaw.  It kind of tastes good.  Sort of like Boi to Go, the Vietnamese sandwich shop on the east side.  Is it better than the $3.50 Banh Mi in Chinatown?  Fuck no.  Is $8 too much money to spend for a sandwich?  Hell yeah.  But if you’re going to spend $8 on a sandwich, is Boi to Go one of your best Midtown options?  Yes.  Why?  Because it tastes good.  It may not be a great “banh mi”. Maybe it shouldn’t have avocado. But it’s a good freakin’ sandwich.

Rickshaw Dumpling Truck
$6 for 6 dumplings + $3 for a side dish = $9 combo 

And there’s the rub with Rickshaw.  Are they good “dumplings” when matched head to head with our favorite cheap spots in Chinatown?  Not even close.  But if you are going to spend $9 on an overpriced lunch in Midtown, you could do a lot worse than one of the combos at Rickshaw. And truth be told, as far as dumplings go, it’s one of our only choices.  It’s thoughtful food, made by a good chef (Anita Lo from Annisa, which is a kick ass restaurant), from the best ingredients possible (organic meat, etc.)  If you like gussied up Asian food, the dipping sauces are delicious (I’m partial to the thai one) and the noodle salad that comes in the $9 combo is a tasty accompaniment to the dumplings (and the only way you could be remotely full after a lunch at the truck).  I haven’t tried the salad, but I’ve heard it’s very popular with the ladies.

So there it is.  Will I be going to the Rickshaw Dumpling Truck very often?  Probably not. There is too much great, cheap Asian food to be had in Midtown.  But if I was an office worker, looking for a healthier Asian flavored lunch, and Rickshaw was parked near my office- I wouldn’t turn my nose up at it.

THE + (What the person who loves this place would say)

  • High quality ingredients
  • Tasty dipping sauces
  • Healthier than most Asian food in Midtown (dumplings are steamed)
  • There’s a vegetarian dumpling option
  • It’s from a truck.  I love trucks.

THE – (What the person who hates this place would say about it)

  • Too freaking expensive
  • The dumplings are steamed! When I dumpling it up, I want fried dumplings
  • The wrappers are too thin.
  • The food is too dainty
  • Not nearly enough food… especially for $9!
  • Did I mention that it’s TOO FREAKING EXPENSIVE!

Rickshaw Dumpling Truck, Various Locations (sign up for their Twitter to get daily updates)


  • You put “The +” both times…

  • Do people find Rickshaw to be really that tasty? Went to the one near the Flat Iron a while back and the dumplings were barely edible. Wouldn’t have paid $3, much less $9.

  • Pork & chive dumplings, totally not worth the 6 bucks. I need some good cheap chinese food around here, 55th and Park is a dead zone -=(

  • this is the third iteration of my comment. The first two were different wording of how absurd it was to serve $6 dumplings. But since I have a food blog, the nice thing here to say is…

    food is about enjoyment. and i believe most of you can find dumplings enjoyment in chinatown instead of midtown. just because a truck is here, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good or that you have to go.

    man… if i could just talk about how i really feel about this truck…

  • Never been to the truck, but went a couple times to the their brick and mortar on 23rd St. Less than average flavor for a pretty ridiculous price. Kind of amazed they are expanding instead of someone like Dumpling Man on St Marks.

  • were the noodles good? i’d skip the dumplings, and get the noodles for $3. And i think the wrappers are just off, there’s an inch of seam. there’s no need for an inch of seam if you have barely anything inside.

  • Do they have the (runny) chocolate fried dumplings at the truck? I defended them here a few weeks ago and have a postive review on my site but after trying them again last week (store not truck) I was dissapointed. Maybe affected by all the negative reviews here.

  • As I’ve mentioned countless times here, I find Rickshaw dumplings to be completely and utterly repulsive. I don’t care how “qualified” the chef is–I still maintain that her food sucks. If the dumplings were $1, I still wouldn’t go near them, as I prefer not to dry-heave during a meal, regardless of the price. I daresay ANY hole in the wall chinese restaurant in any of the 5 buroughs would make an equal or better dumpling than Rickshaw, which were, in fact, THE WORST I’VE EVER EATEN, hands down, in my nearly 35 yrs. on planet Earth. I would only give those dumplings to the drunk homeless men who ‘loiter’ (read “pass out and pee/crap their pants nightly”) near my building, in hopes they’d get the most vicious case of food poisoning known to man and “go away”….

  • While I don’t know that these Rickshaw dumplings are nearly as repulsive as Goats is making them out to be, a more fair comparison would be that their dumplings taste…off. No umami. Weird texture. Ingredients don’t mesh.

    Honestly, I didn’t think anything of just how bad they were when I had them a while back because I assumed it was owned by a bunch of white folk who didn’t know any better. You know — that dumplings are supposed to taste good.

    I am only an on and off reader of this site, so I had no idea Rickshaw’s is owned by Asians. Shocking if you ask me. I’ve been to Annisa before as well and I thought the food was good, but now I’m questioning just how good of a chef Ms. Lo is if her palate can’t tell her dumplings taste like doody in a wrapper.

  • Dumplings are terrible. Mine were cold. It’s the poor execution of a great idea.

  • No reason to bash on Anita Lo – she was only a consulting chef for them. You know damn well she doesn’t give a $hit about their dumplings…

  • I agree with wonders, pork & chive dumplings rock!

    I like Rickshaw but it’s not for everyone. There is enough food for $9 bucks, unless you like to gorge at lunch.

  • daria, wonders said the pork & chive weren’t worth it. The noodle dish looks about the same size as the dumplings, and they were on the average/small side, so that $9 worth of food MAY hold you over until dinner if you have a healthy metabolism. I know that the one serving of dumplings I had was no where near enough food, so getting the noodles isn’t gorging.

  • Forgive her daria,xmas diet…makes her defensive:)

  • Oh Shangri-la Cart, with 8 giant Momo’s (Himalayan dumplings) for $5, why are you not in midtown. (actually, when I asked the guys who run the cart in Jackson Heights, they said they can serve the Tibetan community better on 74th Ave, guess I can’t argue with that).

  • Thanks Blondie, I was about to say, I didn’t like them. lols Luckily I hit up the dessert truck also and got myself the peanut butter cream chocolate mousse and was in heaven for approximately 5 minutes -=D

  • Sorry wonders!

    Agreed, the dumplings alone are not enough. But the additional side should do it.

    I love to eat, but have learned to eat with proper portion size and calorie intake in mind. Those 2 things don’t always work well with my love of food (totally different thread).

  • don’t hate on rickshaw cause the dumplings are expensive.

    hate on rickshaw because the dumpligs are INEDIBLE. Gross.

  • Speaking of Hing Won… didja notice the prices finally went up (about 50 cents on average)?

    Still a WAY better deal than an expensive, crappy dumpling truck, of course.

  • I’ve tried the dumplings from the store on 23rd street and couldn’t agree more with all who say that the dumplings are inedible!!

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