It’s almost soup season; so how about slurping an entire serving of broth from the savory innards of a dumpling? Most xiaolongbao (a special type of Chinese dumpling, whose meatball centers are sheathed in gelatinized soup, which liquefies when steamed) are good for a sip or two. But in the East Village, the recently opened Drunken Dumpling takes things to the next level, with their newfangled, bowl-sized “XL XLB” dumplings.
Formerly of Joe’s Shanghai, co-owner Qihui Guan (and her son, Yuan Lee) masterfully shapes hand-rolled, plus-sized, paper-thin skins around massive torpedoes of minced crab, scallop and shrimp, suspended around a quadrant of eight hour-simmered broths — chicken, veggie, seafood and pork. Large enough to occupy an entire steamer basket, it simply can’t be consumed by the accepted method; namely, propping it in a spoon, nibbling open a tiny hole, and sucking out the juice.
So how does one tackle this blowsy behemoth of a dumpling? By inserting the provided straw, of course, and carefully extracting every last aromatic morsel.
Needless to say, the innovative, highly photographable dish has already sent Instagram a-flutter. So with only 25 available per day, patrons will likely have to default to more modestly proportioned options. Not that it’s such a sacrifice; tremendous care and high quality, organic and farm-sourced ingredients are afforded to every item on the menu — from Stony Mountain Ranch pork and Chilean crab soup dumplings (six to an order), to unusual potstickers like chicken, truffle oil and cashew and shrimp, orange and bacon, and baozi (puffy buns) padded with pureed red beans sweetened with local honey. They may not make much of a statement on Instagram, but they are unequivocally good.
137 1st Avenue