The best soup dumplings in manhattan are at Noodle Village, a nondescript restaurant tucked away from the epicenter from Chinatown. The soup dumplings at many establishments are marred by a lack of broth and a thick, doughy skin that ends up being dry. Noodle Village’s version has a great balanced ratio of thin, translucent exterior and ample juice.
After trying them for the first time 2 weeks ago with Vince and Jon, I needed to go back immediately. The opportunity presented itself last Saturday.
In the morning, a group of us went to see Yayoi Kasuma’s Infinity Mirrored room. Braving long lines and snowfall, we finally made it into the exhibit after waiting for 2.5 hours.
The line proctor had a timer in her hand which went off every 45 seconds. While I admit that waiting 3 hrs for a 45 second experience wasn’t the best use of my morning, I’m still glad I went. The mirrors did create a sense of infinity augmented by rippling reflections on the water. The suspended LED lights pulsated at andante blinks before quickening to a presto blinkfest that culminated in an epileptic seizure-inducing finish.
However, I enjoyed Yayoi’s other “less popular” exhibit called “I Who Have Arrived in Heaven” which was a mirrored room with fluorescent tentacles everywhere.
After hours in the cold, we were ready to fill our bellies with noodle soup. We ordered some congee, wonton noodle soups, a cast iron pot of crispy rice with pork and salty fish, braised beef with noodles, and a few stacks of soup dumplings.
The braised beef in curry sauce was excellent. Good curry flavor, tender chunks of meat, and really good noodles that were slimy in a good way. Definitely getting this again.
The soup dumplings were just as good as my initial visit a few days before. The aroma of pork juice escaped in plumes of steam after we lifted the lid off the bamboo receptacle. There they sat, glistening in their own juices, just begging to be swallowed. Skip the crab version and stick with the traditional pork filling.
Our bellies warmed, we traversed a few blocks of snow covered streets to check out the Degenerate Craft Fair. Our friends, The Smithereenes and Wendy Fung had two booths set up, selling holiday greeting cards and other cards with beautiful calligraphy.
The day wasn’t over yet. Tired and feeling the effects of MSG, I wanted to go home and snuggle in my bed. But Sammy goaded me into playing something called ping-pong. We walked in the sub-freezing temperatures to King Pong, a club that is frequented by Judah Friedlander of 30 Rock fame. Loser had to pay for the games. I won 3-1. Undeterred, he asked for a rematch. Loser pays for dinner. After 20 minutes, I had a free dinner under my belt. Also ran into my friend at another pingpong table, Hannah, who did the beautiful styling for my girlfriend’s book launch party.
The night ended in Chinatown at Excellent Dumpling House where I had dumplings, scallion pancakes, and cold sesame noodles. Delicious.