Dumpling Alert: A Master Comes to the East Village

IMG_0133.jpg Forgive our blurriness—things got a little steamy, and before we realized it, we had inhaled all the dumplings.

Andy Pan, who owns TKettle, the bubble tea spot on Saint Marks, is a smart man. Last week, he finally convinced Sun Le to start supplying TKettle with her handmade dumplings. Pan tells us that Le, who is from Northern China, was a well-known dumpling-house chef there, and since moving to Queens, has become a local celebrity. "Because she is so famous, she didn't need to open a shop," Pan told us. People have been lining up outside her home for the pork, shrimp, and sea cucumber dumplings, for about a year.

Pan and his family had waited on that line themselves, and he said the dumplings were too good not to share with his customers. Le was skeptical. She can only make 3,000 dumplings per day (3,000! Only!) and didn't want to lose her base clientele. So for now, she is providing TKettle with 1,000 dumplings daily -- about 100 orders (six dumplings go for $4.25, and an order of ten is $6.50). Le makes just the one kind, and steams them. We happily sampled some today, and found them to be dripping with delicious juices. We will surely be making this a regular snack.

TKettle 26 Saint Marks Place (212) 982-9782

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