Back in the early '90s, Excellent Dumpling was one of our
favorite Chinatown spots for noodles and Cantonese dumplings. It has been grandly outstripped by over a dozen other places since then, but a bit of the old zing remains, and the place is as popular as ever. The chicken dumplings are the things to get --submerged in bubbling oil and fried from top to bottom, for the extra greasiness you desire in a dumpling. The favorite noodle dish has always been rice cake: Round plugs of noodle-y material (sometimes called "wedding cake" for no apparent reason) stir fried with your choice of ingredients and heavily soy-sauced. The scallion pancakes and sulkiness of the staff recall Chinatown's old days, too, even though Thai and Shanghai flourishes have been added to the menu.
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