Rickshaw Truck Can’t Make Enough of Their New Duck Dumplings

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If it wasn’t clear before, the Rickshaw Dumpling Truck (which parks in Midtown, and Downtown, a few days a week) has become quite the love ‘em or hate ‘em kind of vendor.  We’ve read the hate, and seen the love.  I fall somewhere in the middle.  I love me some Chinatown dumplings, and don’t think that Rickshaw comes even close to being what I’d consider a “great dumpling” (and they’re shockingly overpriced to boot.) There’s not enough filling, and the wrapper doesn’t stick together.  They’re also steamed, so you don’t get that delicious crisp of the far superior pan fried dumpling. If you think the dumplings are terrible, I can’t really say that you’re wrong.  Did I mention that they are freakin’ expensive? And most Midtown Lunch commenters hate them. I get it.

But here’s their one saving grace (and it’s probably why they are starting to build up a Midtown following among those who don’t frequent Chinatown.)  They don’t taste terrible.  For all their faults, the dumplings use quality ingredients, and have a decent flavor.  (Unlike, say, the NYC Cravings vegan dumplings.) Plus you can’t argue with their dipping sauces. Would I pay for Rickshaw Dumplings? No.  But a lot of people do.  So in the spirit of the +/-, I went to check out their newest special: the peking duck dumplings.

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If you don’t like Rickshaw Dumplings, you’re probably not going to be converted by these.  The same complaints listed above are still valid, and they’ve even gone so far as to raise the price 50 cents (these are $6.50!!!)  But if you’re on the fence, or you actually enjoy the Rickshaw Dumpling Truck, you will most likely love their new duck dumplings.  Great duck flavor, that’s only made better by the sweet hoisin dipping sauce.  It’s like a peking duck bun in dumpling form. Think of it this way, if I was at a Bar Mitzvah and these dumplings were being passed around on trays I would probably position myself near the door where they came out and eat 20. Not because they’re amazing, but because they’re tasty enough- and, most importantly, free. (That’s how I do it.)

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Of course after spending the $6.50, my belly wasn’t even remotely satisfied (which is the real crime of the Rickshaw Truck).   But they tasted good.  And if spending this kind of money, for these kind of dumplings doesn’t send shooting pains through your body, you’ll be into the new duck dumplings.  One final warning: they have become pretty popular pretty quickly, so they don’t really have enough duck to offer them every day. And on the days that they do, they go pretty quick. Today they are on 45th btw. 6+7th and we’re hearing that they’ve got ‘em. To find out in the future if and when they’re offering the special, you can follow them on twitter. (Or not.)

Related:
A Proper +/- of the Rickshaw Dumpling Truck
Rickshaw Dumpling Responds to the Haters

16 Comments

  • interesting… you know, even though I’m not into expensive dumplings, it’s good to see that in Midtown, there’s something for everyone.

  • I’m waiting for Yvo to make her trademark line comparing the size of those little dumplets to the under-hung men of the pacific rim.

  • I swear to god I had those (the peking duck dumplings) at the 23rd street location 3 summers ago–the one and only time I inhaled rikshaw’s garbage. Maybe they were on special, maybe they’ve redone the recipe, but my g/f has confirmed that she had the vegetarian, and I had the peking duck dumplings. BLUCK!!!!! AWFUL! I tossed mine in the trash and went to blimpie next door. And few love peking duck more than me!!!!! I have been going to the peking duck house since 1985!

  • @goats – I used to work on 23rd street across from rickshaw, and yes, they did have these dumplings. They were not a special, but on the menu. I never had them, but they were there.

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    I do like the chicken dumplings with peanut sauce because they are different from the kinds you can get in Chinatown. But yes, expensive, especially if you get a side with them.

    Speaking of the regular Rickshaw Dumpling place I was very disappointed in the pork buns that I had there a month or so ago. Momofuku pork buns they are not!

  • Not in Midtown but Vanessa’s dumplings on 14th and 2nd…AMAZING and cheap…i suggest u all go there now and report back.

  • I second Vanessa’s. Been there and was a fan! Cheap, quick and good!

    There used to be a great midtown dumpling spot on 32nd between 6th and 7th called shang hai food, but it got ripped down before they redid the block. I used to go their once or twice a week for their dumplings…Now, I have no midtown specific dumpling destinations, though I do enjoy the slightly out of bounds dumplings at Chen’s on 28th between madison and 5th. 4.15 (I think) for 8 dumplings…and they’re tastey!

  • @Goats,
    that’s interesting, I have to go check that out. They’re fried dumplings with a crispy bottom?

  • Speaking of a crispy bottom, where’s Mama’s Pub Revue?

  • @danny–they’re just regular dumplings but they’re pretty decent and cheap, and most importantly, around the corner from me. I wouldn’t say they are crispy bottom dumplings, though I always get them delivered and keep them in the container for a while, since i only order them when I’m cooking other stuff, like chicken and broccoli etc., and bust them out about 20 min after they arrive, as I can never perfectly time the delivery with my cooking. I suppose you could order them and eat them there and ask them to make them crispy. They seem capable of that task, but I can’t verify, as I’ve never asked. I also must add I usually buy 1 fried 1 steamed—as I do enjoy both types…The good thing is I never feel sick after eating them, which is always a plus!

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    I’ve had Vanessa’s a few times out of dumpling desperation and they are the same as the dumplings in Chinatown except a dollar more (so instead of Chinatown’s $1.00 per 5, Vanessa’s is $1.99 per 5). I’m assuming they’re upcharging because of higher overhead costs (and because they can), but honestly there’s nothing in Vanessa’s that would warrant a special trek for its dumplings. Just go to any dumpling joint in Chinatown.

  • I’ve had rickshaw at 23rd St. a few winters ago. Their dumplings aren’t anything special. I had their szechuan chicken and also tried my friend’s duck. The quality didn’t show that we paid a fair price for their food. Worth a try but hardly worth going back. Like everyone else, I rather eat cheap chinatown dumplings or buy a bag at the chinese supermarket and steam my own.

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    I have to say that dumplings are my favorite food ever, from Asian, to perogies, to ravioli…but I am always unsatisfied with Asian-style dumplings. I had Rickshaw today, the veg ones, and the dough is ok and the filling is almost ick. I gobbled them all up but didn’t love them. I got the side noodle salad to go with it and wondered if it was rancid. I chucked it. I won’t be going back. Will try Vanessa’s as others suggested above. Any other suggestions for veg dumplings somewhere??? I need to cure my lunch from today!

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    I had the these a few months ago back when I used to work in Dumbo, Brooklyn. (A neighborhood that has about five places to eat for lunch) so you can imagine the excitement when I noticed the truck. I was not impressed at all. For $10 I got six little dumplings that were bland and not hot enough. I wouldn’t get them again.

  • I happen to like Rickshaw. I agree that they are a bit on the pricey side.

    However, I do not like Vanessa’s. The fried dumplings are fried too hard and too doughy.

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    Downright awful. Will never try them again.

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