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Around the World via the NYC Dumpling Festival

The NYC Dumpling Festival provides a culinary journey from Asia to Europe via South America. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.

Dumpling Mama at the NYC Dumpling Festiva
Thumbs Up from the Dumpling Mama at the NYC Dumpling Festival

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.

Steamed Pork and Chicken Dumplings at the NYC Dumpling Festival
Steamed Pork and Chicken Dumplings

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.

Edamame Dumplings at the NYC Dumpling Festival
Edamame Dumplings and Chicken Wontons with Asian Slaw

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.

Hungry Crowd at the NYC Dumpling Festival
A diverse crowd queued up for dumplings at the NYC Dumpling Festival in New York’s Lower East Side.

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.

Global Dumplings at the NYC Dumpling Festival
Global dumpling options at the NYC Dumpling Festival included pierogis, empanadas and ravioli.

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.

Takera Kobayashi at the NYC Dumpling Festival
Professional competitive eater Takera Kobayashi kicked off the dumpling eating contest by eating 32 dumplings in 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.

Fans at the NYC Dumpling Festival
Mouths were agape as the crowd watched the dumpling eating competition. The contestants, especially the professional eaters, were in it to win it.
Male Contestants at the NYC Dumpling Festival
Male contestants ate to win at the dumpling eating contest. The winning man ate 78 dumplings in two minutes.
Female Contestants at the NYC Dumpling Festival
Not to be outdone by the men, the female competitors at the dumpling eating contest chowed down with gusto. The winning woman ate 93 dumplings in two minutes.

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.

Dumplings at the NYC Dumpling Festival
At the end of the day, dumplings were the stars at the NYC Dumpling Festival.
Red Beach Selfie in Santorini

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.

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Disclosures

Sponsorship
This post was sponsored by the NYC Dumpling Festival as part of our coverage of the annual event.

Article Updates
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

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Robert

Friday 12th of February 2016

Wow, the first I've heard of a dumpling festival, looks like loads of fun and good food! My wife and I were just in New York City in Sept. for the first time. So much great food to choose from!

Shobha

Tuesday 8th of December 2015

There's a dumpling festival? Makes sense fried dough with stuff inside is a pretty universal way to make yummy food. My favourite of all the dumplings I've ever tried have to be the Austrian version which are almost the size of your fist.

Becca

Friday 4th of December 2015

Seattle needs a dumpling festival... I am going to get on that.

Lisa

Sunday 29th of November 2015

This looks so so good! I'm hungry now :-)

Reginia Cordell

Wednesday 14th of October 2015

I'm a huge dumpling fan. I've never had them with Asian Slaw but I can only imagine the deliciousness that they were.