Battle of the Dishes--$1 Dumpling Smackdown

Left: Hua Du, Right: Prosperity Dumpling

Welcome to our first installment of a new feature, Battle of the Dishes, in which we pit the same dish from two different restaurants against each other to see which version prevails in a head-to-head smackdown.

For our first Battle of the Dishes, we headed down Eldridge Street, the epicenter of the $1 dumpling universe. Bypassing Vanessa's, we decided to pit Hua Du, a lesser-known dumpling shop, against Prosperity Dumpling, a popular spot for ultra-cheap eats: five dumplings for $1

What makes a good pork dumpling? Fresh, tender-chewy skin and juicy, well-seasoned innards.

Hua Du--where we heard the pat-pat-pat of dumplings being made in the back room--offered dumplings with a tender, delicate, chewy skin, wrinkled like a brain around the filling. The pinkish, pork interior was dotted with a scanty amount of chives, and while it was tasty enough, it was too dense and not juicy. But would its superior skin muster a win?

Over at Prosperity Dumpling, the dumplings are more uniform in their crescent-like shape. The skin is tender, but not chewy, and a bit too thick. It doesn't have the character of its counterpart at Hua Du. There's also a good deal of empty space between the skin and the filling. Nevertheless, one side of each of the dumplings was nice and crisp, and the innards are for real--oozing flavorful pork drippings, light in texture and an almost one-to-one ratio of pork to chives. Plus, while Hua Du offers four moderately sized dumplings for $1, Prosperity peddles five large dumplings for $1.

And....the juicy pork takes it. Prosperity was declared victorious on the strength of its drippy, chive-heavy pork filing, and because it is such a ridiculously good deal.

So ruled! Gung Gung! [That's the Law and Order banging gavel sound.]

Prosperity Dumpling 46 Eldridge Street, 212-343-0683

Hua Du Dumpling Shop 69 Eldridge Street, 212-965-9663

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