Here's a little secret: Frozen dumplings are universally good. So good, in fact, that many restaurants use them. When I attend the annual New York Restaurant Show, I always swing by the Chef One booth and check out the Brooklyn-based dumpling wholesaler's frozen assortment. (Check out chefonecorp.com and see if you don't recognize some of your favorite shrimp dumplings, vegetable pot stickers, chicken wontons, etc.)
Chef One frozen dumplings are sold at Fairway, ShopRite, Pathmark and other supermarkets. I am particularly fond of the pork pot stickers. To prepare, brown them briefly in a skillet, add a few spoonfuls of water, then cover them and steam for five minutes. You will be amazed.
Trader Joe's sells a wide range of high-quality dumplings. Any Asian supermarket (V&T in Hempstead, H&Y in Hicksville, H Mart in Great Neck and Williston Park, Oriental Groceries in Stony Brook) will have an even better selection. But don't overlook smaller ethnic markets. Sikorski of Bethpage, for example, sells fresh pierogi for $3.99 a dozen.
Turkish markets almost always sell frozen manti. At Turkuaz in West Hempstead, lamb-stuffed manti are $9 a pound. Pita House grocery in Patchogue sells 1-pound boxes of shelf-stable manti for $2.75.
I am wild for Afghan dumplings. Kabul Market (522A Walt Whitman Rd., Melville, 631-470-0350) sells frozen aushak (leek-and-cilantro-filled crescents, $7.99 for 24) that boil up beautifully. They are equaled by beef-filled manto dumplings ($9.99 for 24). I steamed them for about 15 minutes, then served them atop labne (creamy, strained yogurt) and drizzled them with good olive oil and dried mint. A meal fit for a king, emperor, shah or pasha.