A Definitive Guide to the Best Dumplings in Brooklyn
The 10 best dumpling spots in all of Kings County
When it comes to Eastern European and Central Asian dumplings, Brooklyn is the hands-down winner where variety is involved. Sure, the intersection of 74th, Broadway and Roosevelt in Queens is where many New Yorkers go to try momo for the first time, but neighboring Brooklyn has caught on to the point where its Chinatown now rivals the more famous ones in Queens and Manhattan. Neighborhoods like Flatbush and Williamsburg are seeing new spots, and, more specifically, dumpling spots, open every month.
Below, the ten Brooklyn spots where you can try dumplings, steamed or fried, and in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Am Thai Bistro
The ‘Am’ in Am Thai stands for American, but that’s not a bad thing. In fact, dumplings aren’t even a signature Thai dish, but Am Thai has three different options, all of which are worth trying.
Firstly, the steamed chicken dumplings are served with Bangkok native chef/owner Boonnum Thongngoen’s peanut sauce, which is a staple condiment in Thailand and surrounding countries. The chives ck’n shrimp are Chinese-style and served with gzoya sauce, but it’s the chicken jeep (also spelled jeeb) Thai dumplings that you really need to try.
Not quite bite-sized, these are not shaped like the famous SUVs, but rather shumai. You have the option of getting them steamed or fried, with the latter being the go-to for most. These chicken dumplings are served with garlic soy sauce but you can request sweet chili or sambal, which is as close to Thai spicy as you’ll get in Brooklyn.
What to order: Chicken jeep Thai dumplings
Nearest subway station: Fort Hamilton Pkwy (F/G)
While the intersection of 74th, Broadway and Roosevelt in Queens still has the highest concentration of momo spots in the city, Jackson Heights is no longer the only player in town. Adjacent to the Cortelyou Rd Q train station in Flatbush, Cafe Tibet has chicken, pork, vegetarian and traditional beef momo. The size is pretty standard (about two bites), and you’ll have the chance to try beef, chicken and vegetarian if you order the combo momo. For an additional $1, you can get them fried (or mustang spicy for an additional $2).
It’s cash-only, and the vegetarian momo are vegan-friendly.
What to order: Steamed beef momo
Nearest subway station: Cortelyou Rd
Manti are to Central Asian cuisine what momo are to Himalayan and kninkali to Georgian. If you want to try these large, traditionally steamed Central Asian staples, your best bet will be to look for an Uzbek restaurant. And the best options will be in Brooklyn. After all, that’s the go-to borough for Central Asian food.
Emir Palace has been around longer and is more upscale than the new arrivals, but if you’re just looking for something quick, you can also try Café Kashkar in Brighton Beach or Toshkent in Bath Beach. The latter has a pumpkin option, while the traditional version will be stuffed with meat.
What to order: 4 piece manti
Nearest subway station: 18th Ave (F)
Everything is $15 and under in this small family-run cafe located a couple of blocks from Gravesend Bay. Georgian soup dumplings (khinkali) are the number one seller. Unlike most other dumplings, there’s an art to how to consume khinkali. After giving them a couple of minutes to cool off, you grab them by the knot, bite into the corner and suck the soup out before consuming the filling. It will take a few big bites as long as you forego the knot at the top. Using a fork will earn you some stares, especially in a neighborhood with a heavy Georgian population and few tourists.
Unlike most other Georgian restaurants, Georgia has a beef-only option. There’s also a delicious four-cheese blend, which is not always available at Georgian restaurants in New York. All dumplings are also available frozen in packs of six. You can’t miss the large freezer opposite the large Georgian flag, which you can sign before leaving.
What to order: Four-cheese khinkali
Nearest subway station: 20th Ave (D)
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Great Taste Dumpling
Great Taste is one of Sunset Park’s small, cash-only dumpling spots. There are a couple of tables for four as well as five seats facing the busy 8th Avenue thoroughfare. Steamed or fried dumplings come eight to an order for as little as $5. You can also buy frozen bags of 25 or 50.
What to order: Pork with chive dumplings
Nearest subway station: 9 Ave (D)
Kai Feng Fu Dumpling
Kai Feng Fu has the same no-frills ambiance as Great Taste. It’s also cash-only. The dumplings even look similar on the outside and are around the same price. But the skin at Kai Feng Fu is much thicker. The result is a much chewier dumpling, whether steamed or fried.
What to order: Pork with leek
Nearest subway station: Fort Hamilton Pkwy (D)
It’s impossible to miss Skovorodka, thanks to the life-size Russian bear statue that watches over Brighton Beach Avenue under the elevated B-Q line. In an interesting paradox, Russia is roughly 114 times the size of neighboring Georgia. But Russian dumplings (pelmeni) are bite-sized, while Georgian dumplings are large enough to warrant instructions.
The pelmeni at Skovorodka come in three versions: traditional Siberian, lamb and The Ark, which is a mix of meat and vegetarian options. As with khinkali, pelmeni are often served with sour cream but packed with enough flavor to make condiments optional. And they are far less messy.
What to order: Pelmeni
Nearest subway station: Brighton Beach (B/Q)
Toné Café is named after the traditional clay ovens that have been turning out tonis puri for centuries. There are two khinkali options here: lamb or the traditional beef/pork combo. The former is more of an effort to accommodate people who don’t eat pork, while the latter is what you’d likely get during a visit to Georgia. While the past few years have seen several Georgian restaurants open between Bensonhurst and neighboring Bath Beach, Brighton Beach is still the heart of the Georgian community in NYC. And it’s a must-visit neighborhood when doing a Brooklyn dumpling crawl.
As with many of Brooklyn’s Georgian restaurants, Toné Café has a small Georgian deli next door, where you can buy imported sodas, jams, cheeses and frozen khinkali. If you’re looking to try the same khinkali in a more upscale setting, check out ASSAIA, which opened in December 2021 and has the same owners.
What to order: Either khinkali
Nearest subway station: Brighton Beach (B/Q)
Vanessa’s Dumpling House
Vanessa’s feels like Williamsburg, but the prices are only slightly higher than you’ll find at the bare-bones cash-only spots in Sunset Park. There are technically five different dumpling options, but that number grows by a few when you add in fried or boiled. Chive & pork is the number one seller, followed closely by chicken & basil. All dumplings are available for purchase frozen in bags of 25.
What to order: Basil & chicken
Nearest subway station: Bedford Ave (L)
18th Ave Cafe G
Brooklyn’s many Georgian spots range from upscale with live entertainment to deli-style, where you order at the counter. 18th Ave Cafe G is the latter. And despite being located ten D train stops from Manhattan, it feels more Chelsea than Bensonhurst or Bath Beach.
Khinkali are the top seller from the 27-item menu. They sell the traditional beef/pork version, but you can also request cheese or mushroom. Regardless of which you choose, these large Georgian soup dumplings are best enjoyed in the cafe under the framed Georgian movie posters that share wall space with carefully written quotes from classic films.
What to order: Mushroom khinkali
Nearest subway station: 18th Ave (D)
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