Dear Food Diary:
I’m a total dumpling addict. I’ll have them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There’s always a bag in my freezer. If I don’t have time to make my own I buy them frozen. So you can understand how Dumpling Galaxy and their more than 80 dumpling fillings rocketed to the top of my eat list.
Terry (foodjournies.com) and I have been trying to make this dumpling trip happen for weeks. Malini (therestaurantfairy.com) who’s a fan of Helen You’s original dumpling spot Tianjin Dumpling House was game the minute I mentioned our Friday night plans. Even StalkerHubby came along.
We arrived before 7 pm at the new Arcadia Mall and got a table immediately. Our service got progressively slower as the night of never ending dumplings went on. For the most part, it all worked out smoothly. But by the time we payed our bill, service was at a stand still as the crowd of hungry dumpling seekers formed a lined outside (I’m guessing the NYT review had something to do with it). The waiters seemed rather overwhelmed. My friend G waited 1.5 hours the next night!
Our plan was to try as many different fillings as our stretchy pants would allow. We waved the white flag at plate #10, each of us chowing down about 15 little juicy pockets. Pacing ourselves and leaving room for dessert (big mistake, read below).
The result: some flavor combos were awesome and unexpected while others just didn’t really work at all. The dough/wrap has a nice pull and chew. Bouncy and toothsome.
Shrimp and Green Squash
The natural sweetness of shrimp and freshness of green squash compliment each other without overwhelming one another. A sweet juicy burst.
Pork with Shrimp, Egg and Chives
The classic flavors of pork and chive with the addition of shrimp and eggs was hit. You really can’t beat pork and chives in my book, but this little twist made it even better. It might not be the most inventive on the list to 80, but definitely a great tasting one.
Pan Fried Dumplings
These were excellent. The fillings are condensed to 8 types. We went for the classic pork and chives. The bottom crust was fantastic, nice crunch while holding the juicy center. We found ourselves fighting over the crisp savory cracker like surroundings. Our waiter broke the perfect circle of dumplings, otherwise, it’s quite a skillful disc.
Beef and Tomato
Seemed promising. Beef and tomato over rice is one of my go-to comfort dishes. In this case, the tomato had no sign of life, sort of like the out of season hard fruit you get at the supermarket. The “liquid” bursting out lacked any flavor. The whole thing was a wet mess.
Lamb and Green Pepper
Warning: If you don’t like gamey lamb, stay away from this one. Even the strong green peppers couldn’t mask it out. Which for some could be a good thing?! But for people who like it faint or none at all, I would skip.
Now to the biggest let down of our meal – dessert.
We giggled at the thought of bright orange pumpkin tang yuan filled with sesame paste as our sweet ending. What we got were off in color but most offensively dry and semi cold filling in the center. The beauty of good tang yuan is that oozing, glistering, thick liquid goodness as you bite through the soft chewy exterior. This was neither.
We complained to the waitress, who first suggested reheating! Came back a few minutes later to tell is that wasn’t a good idea and assured us this is how “tang yuan” are suppose to be!? Hmmm, yeah, whatever! She was nice and clearly didn’t seem to know what to do, so we decided to let this one go.
Overall, I had a good meal. Though the dumplings are more expensive than their Tianjin Dumpling House, you do pay for the nice seating and the opportunity to dine as a group. The whole idea of 80 different fillings is actually condensed to a few proteins paired with the same herbs and veggies, but amongst them, some pretty creative ones can be found.
The rest of their full menu was pretty overwhelming and extensive, but when in Dumpling Galaxy, there was no reason to order stir fried anything in my opinion. Except maybe a traditional Chinese Breakfast – which I plan to try one of these mornings.
P.S. Chubby’s Rating:
42-35 Main St, Queens, NY 11355