As much as I love spending each and every Sunday exploring the back alleys and underground eateries of Chinatown, I’d be doing a disservice to the rest of New York by not exploring its boroughs’ other offerings. So, once a month, I’m going to take a step out of Chinatown to seek out the best Asian food to be found in the city’s other neighborhoods. As the Googa Mooga festival invaded Prospect Park this weekend, I thought it fitting to start in an area I have not explored much – Park Slope. There, just across the street from the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Shop, is Dumplings and Things.
On the surface, Park Slope might not seem like the kind of place where a cheap dumpling house would thrive, let alone be found. After all, it’s the place where every child in the world under the age of three is currently living… and babies don’t eat dumplings. Those 4WD super strollers aren’t cheap, though. Park Slope parents need affordable pork and chives as much as anyone. Lucky for them, Dumplings and Things is treating them to some of the best in the city.
At first glance, Dumplings and Things looks like any takeout joint you’d find in Chinatown. Step inside, however, and you’ll see this dumpling spot has put on its best pair of Park Slope pants. Exposed brick, hardwood floors, and inviting decor remind you immediately that you are not in Chinatown, despite the familiar scent of Sriracha sauce and vinegar. The menu is simple, drawn from both Chinese and Korean cookbooks. And it’s cheap.
Ease into the experience with an order pork and chive pan fried dumplings, just $3 for 5. Fried entirely, unlike the dumplings you’ll generally find in Chinatown, they’re packed with more pork and chives than any we’ve ever had. And they’re pretty incredible. Add an order of spicy beef and kimchi dumplings ($3.50 for 5) to make things a bit more interesting. Fermented vegetables and beef with an intense kick are fried together to create the best dumpling I’ve had yet in New York. To battle its dry texture, use plenty of dumpling and sriracha sauce.
If you’re there on a Sunday (or Saturday), you’ll be lucky enough to be able to order the Peking Duck bao, a hugely flavorful sandwich full of duck and greens, surrounded by a soft yeast bun. At just $3.50 for two buns, you can’t beat it. If there’s any room left inside your stomach (there’s a great chance there won’t be), finish your meal off with some mango mochi ice cream, only $1. A soft, sticky rice cake filled with frozen mango ice cream. Though small, it’s just enough to round out the meal.
I initially didn’t expect much from my first Asian meal in Park Slope, an unfounded mistake I’m glad I fixed. Dumplings and Things is everything it needs to be – small, stylish, delicious and cheap. It’s the perfect end (or beginning) to any sunny day in Park Slope. So, next time you find yourself west of Prospect Park, leave your all of your worries (or your baby, as some do) at the door and give Dumplings and Things a shot. A $10 bill is all you’ll need to get so much more.