Downtown Lunch: Tasty Dumpling

Something shocking has happened since I started doing this blog almost two years ago.  People from all over the city are actually allowing these words to exit their mouth (without laughing hysterically)… “I wish I worked in Midtown”.  As good as some of the food that gets written about on this site looks, nobody should feel that way (have you walked through Time Square lately?).  In order to help alleviate the pangs of jealousy felt in other parts of the city (especially Downtown), I have tried to occasionally post lunches from other areas, like Feisty Foodie’s write-up of the Mobile Fried Chicken Truck on Water St.  Well, I’m extremely excited to introduce our newest Downtown correspondent, Daniel Krieger– an amazing photographer (you may have seen his stuff on Eater) and lover of all Midtown Lunch’ish foods.  He starts off strong, with the quickest way to make me jealous- a Chinatown lunch for under $5…

I remember back in the old days (that’d be about six months ago) when you could get 5 dumplings for a dollar. For two bucks a normal person would be full; for me it was more like $2.75 (I would round out the meal with a 75 cent Golden Pancake). But those days are behind us: Tasty Dumpling, (“The Real Tasty D” in Chinatown Lunch parlance), Mulberry Street’s battle-tested Chinatown lunch hole has recently upped its prices: a five-spot of pan-fried dumplings will now set you back an additional quarter, ringing in at a budget-stretching $1.25.

Small-framed gals and fancy belt-conscious boys can still do dim sum for under 3 bucks…For the rest (and notably, for your Downtown lunch correspondent) we’re feeling the pinch. But that doesn’t mean we’re skipping out.

What I ate (and some serious downtown lunch porn), after the jump…

Fried Chive & Pork Dumplings ($1.25 for 5): Stuffed into a white styrofoam container are five hot, greasy reasons to visit Tasty D. The best part is the audible crunch you get when biting into each handcrafted, soy and sriracha drenched, golden-greased-wedge. The fried cabbage and pork dumplings are equally heavenly, but the cabbage stinks something fierce. Less heathen lunchers—let’s call them sissies—can opt for one of the many boiled options.

Pork Wonton Soup ($1.25 for small pint size): The soup is floating with silky noodles, shreds of spinach, scallion, and minuscule baby shrimp with gross pinhead sized black eyes. The wontons themselves look like little translucent brains bobbing in the broth. It’s all rather nasty, but don’t be deterred—the dumplings are surprisingly delicate and the soup flavorful enough to warrant the extra twenty-five cent price hike (you cheap bastard).

Pancake with Beef ($2.00): This high-rolling two-buck snack features penny-thin slices of beef stacked generously between two fried pieces of doughy sesame bread. The chef (or what have you) then stuffs the sandwich with shredded carrots and cilantro, bahn mi-style. Some soy and hot sauce are needed to resuscitate the flavor of the too-fatty beef (at least it looks like beef, but what’s to be expected for two dollars?).

Total cost of Chinatown lunch: 4.50

Also recommended:
Boiled vegetable dumplings (8 for $3)
Golden Pancake ($1)
Chicken and Corn Soup (1 pint for $1.25)
Spicy Cabbage ($2)

Final Words:

Don’t torture your coworkers by bringing this food back to the office, especially if you go the cabbage route. Adventurous lunch’ers should try to squeeze into one of the clean-it-yourself tables at Tasty D. Don’t get too close to the natives when they’re eating soup as it can be a very loud, and sometimes splashy experience. Or eat it outside in Columbus Park where you can take in a game of Xiangqi (Chinese chess) or watch a local bum urinate on the bench you were about to sit on.

Tasty Dumpling, 54 Mulberry St. (btw. Bayard & Mosco), 212-349-0070

Post & Photos by Daniel Krieger



  • Off to get some dumplings for lunch. This made me hungry!

  • the recession and higher prices have not yet hit Prosperity Dumplings on Eldridge. still $1 for 5 when I went a couple of weeks ago.

  • Doesn’t the dumpling place that’s actually on Mosco St. (between Mott and the park) still serve ’em at 5 for 1$?

  • best drunk food ever. I always hit some chinatown dumpling spot post LES happy hour drinking. I’ll try to stumble down to Tasty Dumpling sometime. I usually end up at Dumpling House on Eldridge that is a lot dirtier and has a lot less seating, so this might be a nice change….

  • Have a very nice weekend very nearly everyone!

  • Awww shiet, competition? Time to write up another glorious post… dare I post about Korean food in Chinatown? Ooh.. haha I’m just kidding about the competition. But fo’sho it’s time for another Downtown Lunch post; Chinatown posts seem to be cheating to me but … well, it should be apparent why I think that way.

  • I used to work at the federal courthouse and would eat those dumplings all the time. Very tasty, but they often gave me a stomach ache. Nothing serious, just your run-of-the-mill grease-overload-induced dyspepsia. Now I work and eat lunch in midtown. Got to say (largely thanks to this site) I don’t miss downtown too much. In fact, it’s been a long time since I thought about those dumplings.

    But… But… BUT!!! There is a whole in my heart (stomach?) because I haven’t been to Pakistan Tea House for years! Oh God, it can’t be true. Immediately after my exile from the City Hall area, I continued to frequent neighborhood bars, just so I could enjoy a drunken late-nite feed (or better yet, a no-holds-barred eating competition) at the Tea House. The place is the best! Even when you’re sober, as the long line at lunch proves.

    I’m probably being an idiot. There are probably half a dozen posts on the Pakistan Tea House already on this site. But I’ve got to add my two cents. Forget the dumplings. Go to the Tea House. They’ve got amazing chicken makhani and the vegatable dishes are out of sight! Okra, saag, dal, black-eyed peas. The dishes rotate on a daily basis. (I’m crying as I type this.) And such a bargain for heaping portions! And they make bread on the spot in this incredibly dangerous-looking tubular oven-thing.

    It’s at 176 Church Street between Duane and Reade Streets. It’s open very, very late (generally).

    Please excuse the rant.

    P.S. I also remember this vietnamese video store on Lafayette and Franklin (?) that served Vietnamese sandwiches made of pate, pickled vegtables, and fish sauce on french bread. They were like $2. That place also topped the dumpling joint by a lot.

  • Xacko I have never even *heard* of this place! You have done a service to your community! By which I mean me!

  • …this really isn’t fair to those of us who are *stuck* in midtown during lunchtime…

  • zach,

    i just want to chime in to say that indeed, you have made midtown the best part of the city in which to have a reasonably-priced, but delicious lunch. you’re right to think that other parts of the city still have better options, but they don’t have you to separate the wheat from the chaff… and where there is more wheat, there is that much more chaff.

    you started writing this blog shortly after i stopped working in midtown. i knew it would be good because pretty early on you found one of my favorites (margon). i now find myself working most of the week in midtown again and one day in the lunch wonderland of soho… and I often find myself looking forward more to midtown lunch thanks to your writing (also, the good stuff in soho is often way more expensive).

    as a fan, i do have one request: while i and an army of others seem to share your taste in food, i, and i imagine a great deal of your readers, lack your iron stomach. i simply can’t eat like this all the time! whenever i want something lighter, i inevitably end up with the generic midtown deli cold sandwich or salad. more coverage of light food would be awesome (by light i mean ‘less heavy in my stomach,’ not necessarily ‘fewer calories’).

  • Good post. Could use more info about the urinating bum.

  • Xacko – there are a ton of Paki tea house posts everywhere because it’s not really a secret.

    and the vietnamese video store hasn’t sold a sandwich for $2 in a long long time, not that they’re super expensive but closer to 4 bucks each.

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