Every culture has a dumpling to call their own: There are Polish pierogis, South American empanadas, Italian raviolis and, of course, Chinese dumplings. Tightly packed in gauzy dough or wonton, the best cheap dumplings in NYC can be fried or boiled, and filled with ground meat, vegetables or even belly-warming soup. As a staple amongst the city’s best cheap eats, indulge in full meals of the little wonders at Chinese restaurants and dim sum havens throughout the city for less than a Hamilton.
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Best cheap dumplings
Since launching in 2014, East Village jiaozi parlor Mimi Cheng’s has been a favorite among dumpling devotees for its fresh local ingredients and clever collaborations. (Cheeseburger dumplings, anyone?) The from-scratch Taiwanese dumplings—served pan-fried or steamed, and born from a recipe passed down by the Chengs’ mother—remain on offer in varieties like chicken-and-zucchini and pork with bok choy, sold at $8.75 for six pieces.
Vanessa Weng, owner of Vanessa’s Dumpling House and Tasty Dumpling, has three locations of her eponymous shop (Chinatown, East Village, Williamsburg). in the Chinatown location, you can get a dish of four fried dumplings for as little as $1.50 (pork with chive or cabbage) or as pricey as a whopping $6 (boiled shrimp with spicy sauce). Other flavors include vegetable and chicken with basil.
Located in the Lower East Side and at its original location, Flushing's Golden Shopping Mall, this nook may specialize in hand-pulled noodles from China's northwestern province of Lanzhou, but the dumpings are also not to be missed. Order the fried dumplings filled with pork, and devour all ten pieces for only three bucks.
In a neighborhood inundated with dumpling dives, this spot is worth your dollar (literally). There's no atmosphere to speak of, but with potstickers this cheap, there's no need for frills. A buck and a quater will get you five pork-and-chive dumplings, and a glance at the ever-present line ensures the goods are fresh. Beyond the crescent-shaped morsels, the menu offers hot-and-sour soup, soybean juice and hot coffee. If you get hooked, frozen dumplings (30 for $5) are on offer for cooking at home.
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Thanks to a special licensing agreement with its namesake brewery in Munich, Paulaner brews its beer on-site in the same German tradition. The storied 265 Bowery location also gives Paulaner the same scope as most expansive Bavarian beer halls: long communal tables stretch from end to end of the space. Sip one of the five or so house beers—on a recent visit, the selection included a lager, hefeweizen, dunkel and bock (all $7 for a small, $9 for a medium, $16 for a large). Man cannot live on beer alone, so you’ll probably want to order some food. Paulaner offers a wide selection of Bavarian classics, like warm pretzels ($6), bratwurst with sauerkraut ($12) and a crispy pork knuckle with roasted potatoes in a dark beer sauce ($32). Interested in taking the taste of Germany home with you? Sign up for one of Paulaner’s cooking classes to learn the ins and outs of making your own sausage or strudel.