Dumplings from Broken Rice (580 Grand Street, 718-302-8886)
Within a single, half-mile square of East Williamsburg, there are three eateries doing dumplings very well and pretty creatively.
Though Dumpling Cafe serves up more traditional Chinese options, the other two establishments — Broken Rice and Brooklyn Seoul — are Vietnamese and Korean, respectively.
But their pasta pouches are undeniably influenced by Chinese cookery and represent what can be right about fusion cuisine — which is often (and accurately) derided for homogenizing countries’ rich kitchen cultures.
First up is Broken Rice’s pork puffs.
At four for $5, they’re hardly the cheapest around town — even in Williamsburg, you can hit up Vanessa’s on Bedford for less costly fare.
They are well worth the price, though: similar in texture, size, and shape to Dumpling Man’s northern Chinese shang-jian style, they come cooked in broth — then get briefly pan-friend — making them exceedingly moist without being soggy.
And the porcine filing has a bit more punch than most similar dishes — we’re going to attribute that to plentiful green onion and garlic.
Next is Brooklyn Seoul (749 Metropolitan Avenue, 718-576-3050.)
We opted for the steamed sampling — otherwise, they get deep fried — and found them to be more like jiaozi (“potstickers).
At three for $1.99, each shell is filled a pleasant blend of pork and what seems to be kimchi — giving them a peppery kick.