Jury Duty Lunch: $5 Gets You Plenty at Fried Dumpling

Remember when I told you there would be a surprise the first time we ventured into Chinatown since the launch? Well, here it is.  We’ve realized that there is a problem that afflicts tens of thousands of New Yorkers every year.  “Where do I eat while on jury duty?”  This segment of Midtown Lunch hopes to address that question exactly.  Good for Uptowners, Midtowners, and Downtowners alike, Jury Duty Lunch explores the area around Foley Square looking for what Midtown Lunch is all about: cheap, greasy, delicious food.  Just click on the Jury Duty Lunch category to see where we’ve been.

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During my childhood, I had a strong affinity for dumplings, gyoza, potstickers, whatever you wanna call ‘em.  It was one of my absolute favorite things to eat and always a treat when Mom would get that giant plastic bag we’d gotten at the grocery store and fried up a couple plates worth.  My disappointment always clocked in when I realized the meal wouldn’t consist solely of dumplings.  I dreamed of the day when I would be a grown up who could fry his own damn dumplings and consume nothing but.  Well, that day has come.  (To be perfectly frank, it’s not the first time in my adult life that day has come, but let’s set that aside for the time being.)  I took a little trip to Chinatown to see just how many fried dumplings and pork buns I could get for my 5 bucks at Fried Dumpling on Mosco Street.

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Fried Dumpling is literally right around the corner from the very first place Daniel Krieger reviewed for this site, Tasty Dumpling. The menu may not be quite as diverse as the one at Tasty Dumpling, but what it lacks in variety, it makes up for in cheapness and greasiness.  Plus there’s something to be said about watching the process by which your lunch was made and served by three little ladies who don’t speak 15 words of English between them.  The two stars of the menu are the fried pork buns (4 for $1) and, naturally, the fried dumplings (5 for $1).
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First, the dough is made and cut into the tiny cubes seen on the table above. They’re then rolled out in preparation for the stuffing.
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Dumplings were being stuffed with a mixture of pork, garlic, and scallions.   The pork buns have a similar mixture but seem to benefit from the addition of some of those black mushrooms that seem to be so popular in Asia.
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The prepared morsels are then fried on the griddle, giving one side a nice crispiness and the other a bit of doughy chew.  I’ve heard tales of inconsistency in the cooking, but I’ve never run into any problems.
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At these prices, I was curious to see how much I could get for the cost of a trip to your typical street meat vendor.  Handing over 5 bucks 25 dumplings, 20 pork buns, or a combination of the two, which of course is what I did.  With 15 dumplings and 8 pork buns, I was fairly confident I wouldn’t be hungry by the end of my meal.  I parked myself down next to a couple playing Chinese chess and popped the top on my styrofoam container filled with joy.
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The pork buns had a nice flavor to them with the mushrooms adding a bit of earthiness to it, but they were a bit heavy on the dough and with that came the occasional lack of filling to eat with the dough.  And so, a word of advice: the lovely ladies running this joint don’t have take out sachets of any kind of dipping sauce, so be sure to load up on the unfortunately watery vinegar mixture or hot sauce before you leave.
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While the pork buns were tasty, I could see why they’d names the little hole in the wall after the dumplings. They gave up a pleasant amount of pork juice when you bit into them,  but not so much you’d think they were soup dumplings. Some may call them greasy, but I simply call them delicious.

This place is a freakin’ steal at only a dollar for five dumplings, especially considering it’s only a short walk from the courthouses. While there’s not much else on the menu, you shouldn’t be here for much else other than some fried dumplings and pork buns.

P.S. Oh! And if you’re jonesing for some fried dumplings, but would prefer to make them at home, they’ll sell you a frozen bag of 30 for only $5!

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • I love the idea of eating nothing but dumplings for an entire meal
  • You really can’t get much cheaper
  • The dumplings meet all the basic requirements: cheap, greasy, tasty, and plentiful
  • I’m not kidding, it’s really cheap. Seriously.

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • This place is dirty looking
  • There’s barely anything on the menu
  • I know some other places with cheap dumplings that are even tastier. They are… (leave suggestions in the comments!)

Fried Dumpling, 106 Mosco Street at Mulberry Street, (212) 693-1060

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4 Comments

  • This is a GREAT lunch option. I wish it was closer to my office. They look a bit doughy BUT really can’t beat their price!

    No sauces for the dumplings? They could use some sriracha and soy-ginger sauce to dip.

    • User has not uploaded an avatar

      Tasty Dumpling one block a way is soooooooooooo much better than Fried Dumpling. Fried Dumpling’s skins are way too doughy, not crispy and not fried with care. The dumplings makers can be lazy, not sealing the dumplings properly, leading many of the skins to open up during cooking allowing all of the juices to flow out.It is painful to see these tourists (must be in a guide book) order dumplings thinking these are the best things in the world.

      There are better dumpling places in Chinatown but aren’t near the courts. My choice would be for Tasty Dumpling in that vicinity.

  • Ahhh this brings me back! Great writeup and I love seeing the photos of them making the dumplings..

    Its funny because like you said with my first review I decided to do Tasty Dumpling over this place because of the diversity of the menu like you said..they have that great scallion pancake wedge (you can get it with or without the sliced beef) and a few soups (love their corn and chicken soup).

    I’ve never had the buns at Fried Dumpling only the dumplings but I gotta say both of them look quite good.. its been years since I’ve been there.

    I’m really hungry now I think I gotta make a visit to C-town soon.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    I LOVE this place. Being in Midtown it makes it hard to go there all the time, which is probably a good thing. The price can’t be beat. Yes, their menu is short, I think it’s just dumplings and pork buns, but in my opinion they do them right. If for some reason 25 for $5 isn’t enough, you can buy them frozen to take them home, and a bag of 30 is only $5.

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