I admit that Chinatown can be a bit overwhelming. It’s absolute mayhem. There are too many people, thousands of shops and restaurants, almost everything is written in Chinese, and no I don’t want a damn Gucci bag! But in the gastronomic sense, Chinatown is a foodie’s dream. You can find just about any ingredient imaginable. You can also find some of the city’s best restaurants, you just have to know where to look. Some of the best eateries aren’t found on Canal St. but on the quieter, less crowded side streets. Don’t expect a nice store front with a fabulous dining room either. For the picky or unadventurous eater some of these restaurants look down right sketchy; and they usually are. But if the food is good I can overlook almost anything (almost). Rude, pushy staff are almost a requirement. It’s all part of the experience.
Eldridge Street is chock full of delicious (and super cheap) eats. But I want to tell you about one place in particular: Prosperity Dumpling. Picture a 6×6 room, with a ledge on the left and right, seating four people max per side, with a line out the door. Greeting you at the counter, or more like yelling at you, is a thin, grumpy looking chinese guy. You better come prepared with your order or you’ll really piss him off. The guy is incredible though. He can remember every single order and cost it out in his head in a matter of seconds, over and over again, all day long. You have to witness it to fully understand.
They have soups and a few noodle dishes, but their claim to fame is the dumplings. The pork and chive dumplings are to die for! At $1 for 5 dumplings, you can’t beat the price either. You can even buy 50 frozen dumplings for something like $9! Party at my house! Their $1.75 sesame pancakes are also delicious. They come filled with either roast pork, roast duck, or vegetables, accompanied by carrot julienne and cilantro. They’re soft, with a slight crispiness. Drizzle on some sriracha and soy sauce; perfection! I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so well for so little. Long story short: Go to Prosperity Dumpling!