Disclaimer: The people at East Wind Snack Shop wouldn’t let me pay for my meal, so these dumplings were free for me.
A couple of Mondays ago I got a message on Twitter from the folks over at the East Wind Snack Shop, a tiny Chinese restaurant that opened up less than two blocks away from me. The message read, in part, “we have vegetarian soup dumplings every tues!” This was news to me — I had been to East Wind on the very first day they opened. Of course it’s a rookie mistake to try out a restaurant on their first day of operations, but it’s so close I just had to try it out. I didn’t have a great experience, and at the time they had a dish called Happy Buddha Vegetables (which sounds vegetarian) but topped it with Chinese sausage (they were willing to make it without the sausage if requested). I meant to go back after they found their groove, but I went out of town for a few months. Even when I was here the place was packed every time I walked by. They’d been getting some great press, and had revamped the menu. So when I got the message about soup dumplings I decided it was time to return.
Let me back up for a moment. I’ve been searching for vegetarian soup dumplings for years. I even wrote about it for my friend Molly a few years ago. If you don’t know, a soup dumpling is not a dumpling in soup. Rather, it’s a dumpling FILLED with soup (and usually some pork).
Back to present day. Chef Chris Cheung fills the vegetarian dumplings with sweet potato, though he’s looking for something more seasonal for summer. Biting off some of the dumpling skin from the top you can suck out the sweet, bright orange broth. Then dip the dumpling in a soy-vinegar sauce, which tempers the sweetness, and consume what remains. Remember, these vegetarian soup dumplings are only available on Tuesdays, so plan your trip accordingly.
East Wind Snack Shop — 471 16th St