The Best Dumplings in Flushing, Queens
Eddie Mao is a true dumpling aficionado, and no stranger to the tastiest dumplings in New York City. He owns Mao’s Bao, the best place in NYC to get sheng jian bao, or pan-fried juicy pork buns, among other colorful and creative fillings. His love for pocket foods is somehow still greater than the copious amount of dumplings we ate with on our dumpling crawl through Flushing, Queens. As Eddie loves to say, he is always “thinking outside the bao”, and committed to regular research and development in the form of exploring the many varieties of the dumplings and baos (and all of their cousins) in both China and in his home neighborhood of Flushing.
The Best Dumplings in NYC? Start in Queens.
Born in Queens, Eddie and his family moved between New York and China a handful of times, living in Hangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai. He remembers his mom stopping to get him dumplings during their usual shopping outings, where he claims his passion for bao was born. From New York’s best pork and chive potsticker to the elusive Fujian wonton, rouyan, Eddie knows what’s up when it comes to dumplings.
We hopped (eventually waddled) around downtown Flushing on a sunny April day, traveling all over China through the dumplings we ate. Eddie Mao’s walking dumpling crawl is perfect for a Saturday adventure or a day trip on a long weekend. In about 5 hours, we hit 10 dumpling shops, and even stopped for a fruit tea refresher.
Interested in tips on how to survive a dumpling crawl? Click here to read about what we know now that we didn’t know then.
Everywhere Eddie took us on our dumpling adventure in Flushing was within a 5-10 minute walk from the Flushing Main St Stop on the 7 train. We logged about one mile over the course of the entire tour.
Where to get the best dumplings in Flushing, Queens
1. Dumpling Galaxy
Eddie’s pick: lamb with green squash, duck meat w/ mushrooms and strawberry tanyuan
Region of origin: Tianjin, the largest coastal city in Northern China
Dumpling Galaxy is a Flushing classic tucked inside the Arcadia Mall on Main St. With big comfy booths and pots of tea on the table upon our arrival, this modern dumpling shop was a great way to kick off our adventure after the long subway ride from Brooklyn. Both varieties of savory dumplings Eddie ordered were delicious: the lamb and green squash dumplings were just-the-right-amount-of-gamy, balanced by nutty cumin; the duck and mushroom dumplings were rich and juicy. Both dumplings paired well with the garlic oil and the hoisin sauce that Dumpling Galaxy is known for. But our favorite pockets at Dumpling Galaxy were the strawberry tanyuan, whose tender skin made of glutinous rice flour melted in our mouths to reveal a filling of crunchy, white sesame seeds.
2. Golden Shopping Mall stall B4/C5
Eddie’s pick: Rouyan
Region of origin: Fujian, a southeastern Chinese province known for its coastal cities and mountains
Golden Shopping Mall offers a large variety of tasty Chinese delicacies, but our stop at stall B4/C5 was hopping with folks slurping noodles and wonton soup. Eddie describes this fare as comfort food from the Fujian Province at a very affordable price. 50 dumplings for $11! Rouyan are small wontons whose wrappers, called yanpi, are made of minced, smashed pork and pounded glutinous rice or sweet potato. The yanpi skins are springy and toothsome, and the dumplings (also filled with pork) are earthy and, you guessed it — porky.
Golden Shopping Mall stall b4/c5
3. Home Noodle
Eddie’s pick: Rouyan, oyster cake with cabbage, red bean cake
Region of origin: Fujian, a southeastern Chinese province known for its mountains and coastal cities
When we walked out of Golden Shopping Mall, we happened upon Home Noodle’s storefront window filled with pocket foods. After a few quick words with the clerk, Eddie ordered another round of rouyan, an oyster cake stuffed with cabbage and tiny shrimp and a red bean cake that was bright pink. The skins of these rouyan were more tender than the ones we tried at the stall inside the Golden Shopping Mall. Home Noodle is known for their snacks. The oyster cake stuffed with cabbage was a unanimous favorite, with tiny dried shrimp for bursts of crunch and umami. The red bean cake with peanuts was decadent. Eddie said this spot is a good example of regional Fujian cuisine, reiterating that downtown Flushing “squishes China together” with different provinces represented at every other storefront.
Flushing, NY 11355
4. Zhu Ji Dumpling House
Eddie’s pick: Pork and leek pan-fried dumplings
Region of origin: Zhejiang Province, a province in eastern China south of Shanghai, encompasses a rural interior and urban centers along the East China Sea.
Zhu Ji Dumpling House is full of nostalgia for Eddie. As a kid, he used to drop by on his way home from school, along with many other students in the neighborhood. Eddie’s snack after school snack fix also happens to be a beloved spot for many, according to Serious Eats. The unassuming window front at Zhu Ji Dumpling House features a quick red and white menu of succulent pan-fried pockets. We devoured the crispy-bottomed pork and leek dumplings on the sidewalk hunched over the styrofoam takeout box, thinking about what it would be like to stop here on the way home from school as a kid.
Zhu Ji Dumpling House
5. Huabei Dumpling and Ramen
Eddie’s pick: multicolored pork & chive dumplings
Region of origin: Hubei, a landlocked province in Central China. Its varied terrain encompasses mountains, lakes and wilderness areas.
Spotted while doing our dumpling dance across the street at Zhu Ji Dumpling House, we veered off of Eddie’s list of Flushing favorites and popped into Huabei Dumpling and Ramen out of sheer curiosity. We were met with a variety of chili oils (!!!) and multi-hued dumplings from unassuming coloring agents: seaweed, black sesame, carrot, and pumpkin. But the best thing about these beautiful colored dumplings were the caramelized scallions served on top. This added an unctuous depth to the otherwise standard pork and chive boiled dumplings with various colored skins.
Huabei Dumpling and Ramen
6. Corner 28
Eddie’s pick: Crystal dumplings: watercress & shrimp, shrimp & vegetable, pan-fried chive
Region of origin: Canton/Hong Kong, densely populated metropolitan city in southeastern China
Corner 28 in Flushing is a fast food market with multiple vendors. We were greeted on the storefront with a stunning display of peking duck, then passed through the door-length strips of plastic at the entrance to find stacks of large stainless steel steam baskets displaying a beautiful variety of Cantonese-style dim sum. Order and pay at the stall, then head upstairs for a table or window bar to sit and eat. According to Eddie, Cantonese food is crafted to honor fresh ingredients so the use of sauce with dumplings is minimal and only used as a palate cleanser to respect the original flavors and elements. At Corner 28, we chose all shuǐ jīng jiǎozi, or crystal dumplings, which get their name from translucent dumpling wrappers made of glutinous rice. These massive crystal pockets were sweet, simple and ginger-driven.
7. White Bear
Eddie’s pick: Chili oil wontons, no soup
Region of origin: Northern China
We happened upon this classic dumpling spot in Flushing later in the afternoon, which meant the dumplings we were after— pork, shrimp and sea cucumber— were sold out for the day. We opted for White Bear’s iconic “chili oil wontons with no soup”. They’re filled with pork. The chili oil is smoky and flavor-packed, (similar to Laoganma’s Spicy Chili Crisp), and the many folds on each wonton wrapper add tender layers of dough that help quell the spice from the chili. The black vinegar served in a recycled sriracha bottle you will end up sharing with fellow customers at either of the other two tables at White Bear balances out this dish in a way that make those wontons sing.
8. Lao Jie Food at Queens Crossing
Eddie’s pick: Crab & pork, shrimp, classic pork sheng jian bao
Region of origin: Shanghai, on China’s central coast, and the country's biggest city
We walked into Queens Crossing, took a right and headed up these stairs in this nightclub-esque setting straight into Flushing Hall. This mid-sized food court had all sorts of dumpling vendors, but we headed to the left for sheng jian bao, some of the only pan-fried buns that Eddie will eat (besides his, of course). Lao Jie Food’s juicy bao were large and filling. At this point on our dumpling journey, we were starting to feel the weight of our carby adventure, so we took a single bite from each and contemplated unbuttoning our jeans for the final two stops.
Lao Jie Food at Queens Crossing
9. New World Mall: Fish Dumpling
Our order: Fish dumplings
Region of origin: Shangdong, an eastern Chinese province on the Yellow Sea
We enjoyed the long ride down the escalator into New World Mall’s food court, one of Flushing’s first food halls. Eddie took us past many tempting booths by the entrance all the way to the front to the back left corner to Fish Dumpling, appropriately named and serving up the best fish dumplings you never knew you needed in your life. The delicate, yet somehow hefty dumpling skins hug a filling of pounded white fish studded with green scallions or Chinese chives. Place an order the best fish dumplings in Flushing and watch a master dumpling queen fold perfect pockets while you wait.
New World Mall: Fish Dumpling
10. Shanghai You Garden Dumpling House
Eddie’s pick: Crab xiao long bao, pork xiao long bao
Region of origin: Shanghai, on China’s central coast, is the country's biggest city
Arguably one of the best places in Flushing for xiao long bao, aka soup dumplings, Shanghai You Garden Dumpling House would be worth the trip to Flushing for a nice dinner with a group of friends. When we walked in, we were met with a Star Wars-style history of dumplings on the ceiling and furious fingers folding dozens of xiao long bao. The thin but sturdy skins are just the right texture, with many intricate folds pinched into the top of each xiao long bao. When you pick them up, they form a perfect purse of meat and soup. The julienned ginger and black vinegar are the ideal accoutrements with each slurp of the mouthwatering broth.
Shanghai You Garden Dumpling House