Rickshaw Dumpling61 W. 23rd St., New York, NY 10010 | 212.924.9220 | rickshawdumplings.com
PRESENTLY KICKING ASS ON TOP Chef Masters on Bravo is Anita Lo, whose Top Chef Masters bio includes these kudos of her and esteemed career so far: A year at Bouley; stints at Chanterelle, Maxim's, Savoy, and Mirezi; rave reviews from The New York Times, Time Out New York; a Milk Council ad, appearances on CNN, the Food Network, NBC, CBS, and the Martha Stewart Show; globally published recipes; named one of ten "Best New Chefs in America" by Food & Wine Magazine and "Best New Restaurant Chef" by the Village Voice, and owner of her Michelin-rated Greenwich Village restaurant, Annisa.
She adds to her resumé Truck Vendor, as she now has a company called Rickshaw Dumplings which likewise has a truck that sells a variety of her also award-winning dumplings!
I discovered the dumplings first, on my way to see the very decent movie, THE HURT LOCKER. I had a few minutes before showtime to squeeze in a quick bite, and my first idea was to get a quick Whopper Jr. from the BK right next door to the theater. Alas, the lines were long with two softball teams who had just finished a game, so I left intent on walking half a block to Papaya King.
Out of the corner of my eye, did I espy, a truck whose coolly, yet brightly, painted side read, DUMPLINGS, parked right across the street. I walked over, ordered a box of six Pork & Chive dumplings, and, miraculously snucked them into the theater. (They are packaged so nicely that it looks more like a gift!).
So the following day I did some research and that's when I did some research and found out that this was an endeavor of Anita Lo. Also finding out, on the website, the trucks schedule—Monday through Friday on 86th St. & Lex., 5pm until 9 pm!—I knew I would have to return.
And return I did! How happy I was to turn the corner and see this:
Right outside the subway; prime location, if you ask me! I took another quick look at the menu.
The price is obviously right (a dollar a prepped-from-scratch, steamed-to-order dumpling), which made it even easier for me to venture trying a little variety. The website shows all the different varieties of dumplings they make; here's a rundown:
Classis Pork & Chinese Chive, served with Soy Sesame Dipping Sauce (Bell & Evans) Chicken & Thai Basil, served with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce Peking Duck, with Lemongrass and Thai Basil, served with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce Wild American Shrimp, with Wasabi, Crunchy Jicama & Scallion, served with Sweet Miso Dipping Sauce Vegetarian Edamame, with Lemon Zest and Soy, served with a Lemon Sansyo Dipping Sauce Szechuan (Bell & Evans) Chicken, with Szechuan Spice (Dessert) Warm Chocolate Shanghai Soup Dumpling, a Black Sesame-Crusted Mochi Wrapper with hot Melting Callebaut Chocolate
I was quite happy with the Pork & Chive last time, so I ordered the same, then mixed it up with another order, this time the Chicken and Thai Basil. The truck was clean—and smelled wonderful—and the service quick, friendly, and professional, as you can see here in the video that I took. (And, for the guys, the girl was even cuter in person!)
Realizing that, especially after my afternoon of brats and fries, these two boxes of food might be a little much, I called my good friend, Danny, to see if he wanted to try out and share some of these. He obliged and I net him at his bar, Danny & Eddies's (1st Avenue between 85th & 86th Sts), and we pretty much dug right in.
These were so good they were gone before I could even remember to take some "half-eaten" shots of the dumplings. Neither Danny nor I could choose a favorite, although we enjoyed them both. The dumpling "skin" was thin enough to be translucent, as you can see in the pictures, so the featured flavors are that of the stuffing—layered, textured, nicely seasoned, and easily discernible in their many fresh ingredients—and not the dough. Most people, like myself, Danny, and fellow foodie, Marcy, hate any type of stuffed dough/bread where the outsides overwhelms what's inside in mass, flavor, weight, etc.
These meaty morsels disappeared very quickly, as Danny and I now have standing appointments to visit the Rickshaw Dumpling Truck at least once a week. Hopefully you'll join us. Trust us, it's worth the "trek" for the "truck"!
Bun Apple Tea!
PS Read up on my second visit to the Rickshaw Dumpling truck!
Rickshaw Dumpling 61 W. 23rd St., New York, NY 10010 | 212.924.9220 | rickshawdumplings.com