Not all dumplings were created equally. And yet, when you scan the various culinary cultures around the globe, nearly everyone has their own version of a dumpling. It’s a universal human achievement that we went from the agricultural revolution some 12,000 years ago and ended up with miraculous dumplings. China and Poland are very different places, yet you can find broth-holding xiao long bao (or Shanghai soup dumplings) in one place and sauerkraut-stuffed pierogies in another. And everything in between.
From Czech to Chinese, these are the best dumplings in NYC from across the globe. Photo credit: Abhishek Sanwa LimbuA dumpling doesn’t necessarily have to be stuffed with something to be defined as a dumpling (see gnocchi in Italy and knedliky in the Czech Republic). But they’re much better when they are. So below, we’ve scoured New York City for the best dumplings.
Spoiler alert: they’re all stuffed with meat-and-veg deliciousness, originally hailing from places like Tibet, the Republic of Georgia. Ukraine, Rome, and western China, among other places around the world.
Banh Bot Loc at Van Da
Van Da, an innovative Vietnamese restaurant in the East Village, has a menu full of delicious surprises. You won’t find pho or spring rolls on the menu at Van Da. Unless, of course, it’s a pho-flavored grilled cheese sandwich, which is on the menu here. But in terms of dumplings, the banh bot loc, shrimp, and pork tapioca dumplings, are some of the best dumplings around. Full of flavor and texturally exciting, these banana leaf-wrapped morsels are a must on a menu already filled with all-star delights.
Cacio E Pepe Frittelle at Lilia
Chef Missy Robbins’ Williamsburg Italian hotspot, Lilia, is perpetually packed. One reason is the cacio e pepe frittelle, an innovative take on the classic Roman pasta dish. The frittelle have all the flavor of cacio e pepe, but are in fried dumpling form. And they’re delicious.
Fried Momos at Phayul
For the adventurous at Phayul, a Tibetan restaurant in Jackson Heights, Queens, there is sour yak milk soup. For everyone else, there are fried beef momos, a popular and delicious dumpling that is a staple of Tibetan cuisine. Don’t forget to dip the momos in the eatery’s homemade hot sauce. Phayul is located at 37-65 74th Street near Roosevelt Avenue.
The 50/50 Dumplings at Mimi Cheng’s
Mimi Cheng’s, a Taiwanese dumpling house in the East Village and the Upper West Side has some magnificent dumplings. Some are stuffed with organic, ethically raised chicken, and others with farmers’ market seasonal produce. If you order the 50/50 dumplings you can get an order of two different types of their signature dumplings.
Khinkali at Chama Mama
Everyone should discover the cuisine of the Republic of Georgia. It’s delicious. It’s relatively healthy. And it’s diverse. One of the staples is khinkali, which is sort of like a golf-ball-sized Shanghai soup dumpling. in that, it holds soup broth and meat inside of it. But the Georgian version is about the size of a tennis ball and the skin is much thicker. And at Chama Mama, a Georgian restaurant in Chelsea and the Upper West Side, the lamb-stuffed khinkali are fantastic. Back in Georgia, khinkali are used as a hangover food, but you need not have drunk too much the previous day to enjoy these.
Insider’s Tip: Craving even more Georgian food in NYC? Our article has you covered!
Pac Man Shrimp Dumplings at Red Farm
Joe Ng, the chef people call the dumpling king of New York, is in the kitchen at Red Farm, which has locations in the West Village and Upper West Side. Nearly all the dumplings on the menu at this innovative Chinese restaurant are excellent. But a fan favorite are the Pac Man shrimp dumplings, which—you guessed it—come in the shape of characters from the ‘80s video game and in different colors too.
Manti Dumplings at Kashkar Cafe
Uyghur cuisine is not only underrated but is underrepresented in New York City. This is why people from all over New York trek out to Brighton Beach to get a seat at the table at Kashkar Cafe. The grilled meat here is phenomenal. So are the manti dumplings, which are stuffed with meat, soaked in butter, and then fried.
Pan-Fried Dumplings at Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns Ramen
The pork pan-fried dumplings at a giant mouthful of a restaurant named—wait for it—Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns Ramen are the reason to come here. Sure, they do a lot of great Chinese staples at this Hell’s Kitchen spot, but the crispy exterior dough gives way to juicy pork goodness once you bite into the dumpling.
Pierogies at Veselka
Ever since Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine started in February 2022, diners in New York have been flocking to Veselka, a long-time Ukrainian-flavored restaurant in the East Village to support Ukraine. (The restaurant regularly gives a portion of profits to relief efforts in Ukraine.) But you should go here anyway for the eatery’s delicious pierogies which come stuffed with short rib or bacon and eggs or sauerkraut and mushrooms.
Soup Dumplings at Pinch Chinese
Soup dumplings are a culinary miracle. A thin outer skin somehow holds in pieces of crab and pork but also a luscious, delicious soup broth. It’s one of the greatest human inventions. And New York, fortunately, has no shortage of places that make quality xiao long bao, or soup dumplings. One of the best is Pinch Chinese in SoHo. You can also get an excellent version at The Bao in the East Village.
Steamed Pork Dumplings with Shrimp at Tim Ho Wan
The original, first iteration of Tim Ho Wan is located in Hong Kong. And has the distinction of being the most affordable Michelin-starred restaurant on the planet. They’ve since expanded to New York City and beyond and we’re better off for it. Especially when an order of steamed pork and shrimp dumplings arrives at the table off this East Village dim sum spot. The paper-thin exterior gives way to juicy pork and shrimp.
David Farley is a West Village-based food and travel writer whose work appears regularly in the New York Times, National Geographic, BBC, and Food & Wine, among other publications. He’s the author of three books, including “An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church’s Strangest Relic in Italy’s Oddest Town,” which was made into a documentary by the National Geographic Channel. You can find Farley’s online homes here and here.