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.]
46 Eldridge Street, 212-343-0683
Hua Du Dumpling Shop
69 Eldridge Street, 212-965-9663
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 9, 2009