There's a brand-new dumpling destination downtown, and it's over a year in the making.
Dumpling Lab, founded by Hunan Slurp's Chef Xiaomei Ma and partners Chao Wang and Lu Dong, brings even more contemporary Chinese food to the East Village with its new seafood-focused menu, inspired by the Chinese city of Tsingtao
“Just like New York, Tsingtao is a coastal city where we grow up eating a lot of mackerel, especially mackerel dumplings. To recreate that hometown flavor in New York, we added dried shellfish to bring out the most sea flavors,” says Ma.
Mackerel Dumplings made with Spanish mackerel, pork, chive and dried shellfish are a menu standout.
To embrace the diversity of Tsingtao's culinary culture, Ma also added dumpling flavors like organic chicken dumplings with wood ear and corn, plus zucchini and cucumber dumplings with eggs and vermicelli.
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“Dumpling is such an accommodating and all-embracing medium to work with. It can wrap all the best flavors you can imagine in its dough. We do not want to limit ourselves to only ‘authentic’ flavors but rather experiment with the ingredients, hence the name Dumpling Lab," says Ma.
Cold dishes on the menu include Shun De Crudo, a sashimi of the day with kaffir lime leaves, ginger, scallion, crisps and peanut with special soy dressing. Hot dishes include a truffle shrimp toast and a reinvented Mapo silky tofu made with mixed mushroom instead of a meat sauce.
To chase down all the shareable bites, cocktails are served on draft! The Kochi Breeze mixes shochu, yuzu, lemon, elderflower, shiso and miso. The owners' friend Xin Feng designed the beverage menu to complement Dumpling Lab's eclectic dishes.
Dumpling Lab is located at 214 E 9th St and has two floors, seating up to 30 people at once. It opened on Sunday.