Long Island restaurants serving great dumplings
There's no better example of culinary alchemy than the dumpling. Take some tasty filling, wrap it in simple pasta and something magical happens while it steams, boils or fries. Dumplings are known by many names -- wonton, kreplach, gyoza, shumai, ravioli, manti, mandu, pierogi, aushak, har gow, xiao long bao -- but in any language, they translate into great eating.
Chinese soup dumplings at Red Tiger Dumpling House(Credit: Heather Walsh)
Chinese soup dumplings at Red Tiger Dumpling House, Stony Brook: Hard to come by on Long Island, soup dumplings (also called soup buns or, in their native Shanghai, xiao long bao) are a signature item at this dumpling specialist. Place one of these handmade dough packets on a spoon, bite off its tip, sip off the rich soup, then devour the savory pork or pork-and-crab filling, along with the wrapper. So delicious.
Korean Mandu at Surasang(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Korean Mandu at Surasang, Syosset: These savory little Korean dumplings are the essence of comfort. They're stuffed with a mixture of ground beef and vegetables and may be ordered steamed or fried. Get them on a plate, accompanied by a soy-based dipping sauce, or floating in a meal-size bowl of beef soup.
Pork and leek fried dumplings at China Station(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)
Pork and leek fried dumplings at China Station, Stony Brook: Pork and leek fried dumplings are satisfying as a shared starter or an individual meal at this authentic Chinese eatery.
Korean Mandu at Koreana(Credit: Linda Rosier)
Korean Mandu at Koreana, Hicksville: The mandu at Koreana are no shrinking violets. These husky, hearty dumplings are filled with a mixture of beef and pork and served with a lusty dipping sauce of soy, hot pepper, scallions and sesame seeds. Each mandu is almost the size of an iPhone. Heartier still: the same mandu fried.
Japanese Gyoza at Koiso(Credit: Jin Lee)
Japanese Gyoza at Koiso, Carle Place: Most Japanese restaurants resort to frozen when it comes to the gyoza -- pot-sticker dumplings that are first fried crisp on one side, then steamed to tender doneness. At Koiso, co-owner Kyoko Mitsumori makes these succulent pork-and-cabbage-stuffed bruisers according to an old family recipe. Also try the homemade shrimp-crab shumai.
Afghani Aushak at Kabul Afghan Cuisine(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Afghani Aushak at Kabul Afghan Cuisine, Huntington: These tender triangular Afghani dumplings start with house-made dough. Inside goes a mix of leeks and scallions. Then the dumplings are boiled and topped with a meat sauce, house-made garlic yogurt and chopped mint. They can become quite habit forming.
Chinese Crystal shrimp dumplings at Fortune Wheel(Credit: Linda Rosier)
Chinese Crystal shrimp dumplings at Fortune Wheel, Levittown: One of the standouts in the big selection served during dim sum, crystal shrimp dumplings are light, savory mouthfuls. You also may want to try the steamed pork shumai and the roast pork turnovers.
Asian vegetable dumplings at Monsoon(Credit: Doug Young)
Asian vegetable dumplings at Monsoon, Babylon: Subtle, flavorful, delicious Chinese har gow-style dumplings, made with carrot, oyster mushrooms, turnip, scallion and garlic, arrive with light sesame-soy sauce. Also consider chef Michael Wilson's elegant, excellent edamame dumplings, made with soybeans and English pea cream, served with mushroom-sake broth.
Turkish Manti at Ephesus Mediterranean(Credit: Newsday / Rebecca Cooney)
Turkish Manti at Ephesus Mediterranean, Massapequa Park: According to chef and co-owner Funda Duygun, the most gifted Turkish manti masters are able to make dumplings so small that 40 of them will fit in one spoon. Duygun likes them a little bigger, so you can really taste the savory beef filling. At Ephesus, an appetizer plate holds 60 little darlings, topped with garlic-infused yogurt, paprika butter and dried mint.
Jewish Kreplach at Zan's Kosher Delicatessen(Credit: Jeremy Bales)
Jewish Kreplach at Zan's Kosher Delicatessen, Lake Grove: Kreplach, traditional Jewish dumplings, are jumbo-size here; a solitary dumpling fills a bowl of chicken soup. The dough -- similar to wonton skin -- is handmade and rolled out as thin as possible. Inside is a simple ground beef filling reminiscent of what Bubby would make. To avoid mushiness, the kreplach is boiled, then added to the soup at the last moment.