Ugly Dumpling Is a Swan of Small Plates


Remember, in elementary school, when they told you not to judge people by their looks, but you still came up with nicknames for the fat girl, or the guy with glasses, or the kid with a limp — the kind of awful taunts that stuck with them until they left for college?

And remember, when you ran into them at your hometown grocery store years later — you never did leave, since the house parties were awesome, bro — and the unattractive losers wound up ridiculously successful and totally hot?

Of course you do! After all, you’re probably in jail, you shallow fuck-up, and have a lot of time to think about how you’ve treated people poorly over the years.

So, if you get a break from lifting weighs or making license plates, you should consider another area where making appearance-based judgments doesn’t work very well — food.

Take East Dumpling House’s Ugly Dumplings, for example.

The pan-fried pick, perfectly crunchy and crisp, is no sight for sore eyes — though the taste aptly sates aching palates. The surface has a toady and tawny appearance, but don’t be put off: The noodle shells contain a garlicky, leafy blend of chives, rice noodles, green onion, celery, and egg.

The overstuffed plate, $3.25 at the eatery (248 West 106th Street), has the mouthfeel of a playful, unique egg roll, rather than the kind you get at a Chinese takeout joint. Be sure to dip in the vinegar-soy sauce: The musky, salty flavors keep the bitter veggies from tasting too acrid.