TODAY'S PAPER
Good Morning
Good Morning
LifestyleRestaurantsFood and Drink

All American Wontons in Levittown revolutionizes the Asian dumpling

All American Wontons in Levittown takes the Chinese-style

All American Wontons in Levittown takes the Chinese-style dumpling and gives it a twist with such fillings as Buffalo chicken or spinach and artichoke. Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus

After seven years and more than 400,000 wontons, Kelly Kay has perfected every technique, from filling to folding to freezing to frying — not to mention non-alliterative skills such as baking and selling.

Her crisp, golden-brown wontons may look as regimented as so many triangular soldiers, but inside you’ll find dozens of flavor combinations, from spinach-artichoke to Buffalo chicken to banana-Nutella.

Back in 2012, when she and a friend, Kerri Watkins, started All American Wontons as a sideline, “all you saw was pork wontons and, sometimes, cream cheese.” The two women saw an empanada wave starting to crest and figured they’d try their luck with that turnover’s Asian cousin. (Watkins left in 2015 and, in 2016, Kay went full time.)

In January, All American Wontons took up residence just inside the back entrance of Levittown’s Tricounty Unique Bazaar. There, from Thursday to Saturday, Kay produces the filled dumplings and sells them, cooked or frozen, to customers or dispatches them, via DoorDash and GrubHub, to homes and offices. (Cooked wontons are $5 for 3, $8 for 6, $20 for 20. Frozen are $10 a dozen.)

A part-time retail location was a big step for Kay, who, before she landed in Levittown, had been cooking out of a commercial kitchen and sold her wares exclusively at festivals, private events and farmers markets where she would set up a tent, a fryolator and a generator. (You can still find her at local festivals and five farmers markets; go to allamericanwontons.com for more information.)

Not that the Levittown location is luxurious by any means. It still requires a lot of ingenuity to produce 2,500 wontons a week in what is, essentially, a booth with a sink and an electrical outlet. Kelly uses a hot plate to cook the pasta and make the sauce for her mac and cheese, and a crockpot to create her Philly cheesesteak filling.

Fillings are loaded into a caulking gun and then squeezed out onto the wonton skins, which are misted, folded over and then sent through a small commercial conveyor toaster for their initial cooking; they tumble out the back end barely colored and are then cooled and frozen.

The wonton skins themselves are critical. Kay tried them all before settling on a brand “that’s the most flavorful and crisps up nicely and contains no eggs for the vegan preparations.”

At markets and festivals, Kay fries the wontons. “It’s quick — only two to three minutes — and people don’t seem to care about eating fried foods at a festival.” In Levittown, however, she browns the wontons in either an air fryer or a convection oven.

Kay worked at Enterprise Rent-A-Car and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business before hitching her wagon to wontons, and she is not resting on her laurels. She’s awaiting delivery of a food trailer that she will bring on the road with her (instead of the tent-generator-fryolator setup) and is working to get her wontons on the menu at local sports and entertainment venues. “The ultimate goal,” she said, “is a real All American wonton store — or perhaps a few of them.”

All American Wontons is open from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturday and to 6 p.m. on Saturday at Tricounty Unique Bazaar, 3041 Hempstead Tpke., Levittown; 516-200-1218, allamericanwontons.com.

Latest reviews