Our New York City dumpling journey started as we drove from the Bronx to the Sara D Roosevelt Park in Manhattan’s Lower East Side where we were welcomed by festive balloons and colorful dragon dancers. Then, as we perused the dozen or so food stands, our senses quickly perked up as we heard the sizzling sounds and smelled the tantalizing aromas.
Just five minutes at the NYC Dumpling Festival, and we just had one question. What dumpling should we try first?
NYC Dumpling Festival Decision
Our decision was easy. We started our adventure with Chinese dumplings. It just felt right based on our ongoing love affair with this particular food.
Doughy and soupy, the Chinese dumplings whet our appetite for more. We continued our Asian journey with spring rolls, sui mei, sticky rice and wontons. It was a veritable cornucopia of glutinous delights, and we were up for the culinary challenge.
As we slurped, chewed and nibbled on our dumpling bounty, the lines started to get longer. Word had gotten out.
The diverse crowd was happy to spend $20 for tickets that got them four heaping plates plus entry into the raffle for highly desirable prizes like first class Delta plane tickets and a Go-Pro. The raffle winners were especially happy, and who can blame them for that.
After we completed our tour of Asia, we sampled loaded pierogis from Poland, crispy empanadas from South America and saucy ravioli from Italy. Each dumpling celebrated its cultural heritage while honoring the simplicity of the dumpling.
Entertainment at the NYC Dumpling Festival
The dumplings would have been enough to satisfy us and the rest of the hungry crowd, but the free entertainment kept everybody at the festival long after our appetites were sated. There was a wide assortment of eclectic music and dancing, but the star event was the dumpling eating contest.
While we ate the dumplings for gastronomical pleasure, the participants in the dumpling eating contest were there for three reasons: competition, bragging rights and cash money. Professional competitive eater Takera Kobayashi kicked off the competition in the best way possible, by eating 32 dumplings in just 30 seconds.
The crowd was justifiably enthralled by the competitive gluttony. Three rounds each of men and women stuffed their faces with dumplings as we all watched in awe. David “Tiger Wings” Brunelli was the winning man after devouring 78 dumplings in two minutes. Impressive as that seems, Molly Schuyler set a new record by eating an astounding 93 dumplings in her two-minute round.
The dumpling eating contest was memorable for its gluttonous display; however, it’s the dumplings that we’ll remember as the true stars of the NYC Dumpling Festival. The rest of the festival was a glorious bonus.
About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.