When a Chinese friend of mine moved back in with her parents after college, I went to visit her in their apartment on the millionth floor of a beige highrise near NYC’s Port Authority. We went out big the night I got there, but what I remember most about that trip was that her mom greeted us, at around 5:30 in the morning, with a plate of 25 pork dumplings and two glasses of orange juice, and that the juice glasses had paper towels placed flat on top of them.
My friend made a barf-me face, grabbed her paper towel-shrouded juice, and went back to bed. But I couldn’t be so rude, so I sat down at the dining room table by myself and picked up a pair of chopsticks. As the sun rose over Manhattan that morning, I showed that heaping plate of dumplings who was boss.*
The lesson I learned from that was this: it is never to early in the day, and one can never be too underslept and still-drunk, for homemade dumplings.
Unfortunately Dumpling Dojo, the pop-up—that means temporary—restaurant on Broadway in the former Siam space at 616 Broadway E, doesn’t open until 5:30pm. But it’s worth the wait. Owner Uyen Pham pan-fries her meat-and-veggie-filled parcels to order. They’re delightfully crispy and fresh, about three times the size of your typical sushi-bar gyoza and with none of the flavor loss brought on by freezer fatigue. An order of five costs $10. Choose from six varieties including shrimp, beef lemongrass, wild mushroom, and pork, and two dipping sauces: soy sesame or chimichurri. You can opt to have your dumplings "souped" instead of pan-seared.
*I was boss.