Possibly the Cheapest Meal in New York City at Prosperity Dumpling

23 Nov

You can usually spot Prosperity Dumpling from afar thanks to the lines which almost always snake out door and down the block.

Prosperity Dumpling and I go way back. Three years ago, when I was a bright, cheerful, and overly zealous freshman at NYU I read about the $1 for 5 dumpling places scattered around Chinatown. Being the stingy individual that I was (and still am), I hauled my ass down to Chinatown as soon as possible, lured by the potential of eating out for under $3 a head. I actually went to Vanessa’s Dumpling House first, which is up the street from Prosperity, but found myself returning to the latter more and more as time went on.

In reality, all of these cheap-o dumpling places aren’t really that different. They serve the same product, and for the most part it all tastes the same to me, give or take varying grease levels and other things that I’ll get into later. What’s so special about Prosperity is that it’s one of the last dumpling shops to offer $1 for 5 pork and chive fried dumplings. Others have resorted as time went on (and popularity increased) to $1 for 4 or even, heaven forbid, $1.25 for 4, but for some reason Prosperity has yet to budge.

If you have trouble finding the restaurant, look for the line of people spilling out onto the sidewalk on Eldridge Street and you’re probably at the right place. Prosperity is a tiny, tiny shop that isn’t very distinguishable among the plethora of Chinese signs that seem to engulf the stretch of stores in which it’s located. I don’t think it could fit more than six people comfortably at one time, though whoever is at the cash register knows what he’s doing. The place is never unbearably crowded, and the wait for food has never been more than five minutes the zillions of times that I’ve went there. Sadly, the lack of seating means you’ll have to take your food to go, but that’s what the park around the corner on Allen St is for. If it’s too cold to sit outside you’re outta luck, but for some reason this food travels really well so there’s no reason to worry. Eating at home is definitely a possibility.

An order of ten chive and pork fried dumplings ($2). Fear not, they're a lot less shiny (and a lot more delicious looking) in real life.

While there are a few different kinds of dumplings on the menu, the pork and chive fried dumplings ($1 for 5) are the ones to get. Unlike a lot of other dumpling places (Vanessa’s, I’m looking at you) which serve dumplings with unnecessarily thick skins and shortchange diners on the fillings, Prosperity seems to have the best skin thickness and adequate innards with a perfect pork  to chive ratio. You get a bit of each in every bite. They’re also not insanely greasy, which means that they won’t sit in your stomach like a lead weight after you plow through a few orders of them. Shocking, I know.

Sesame pancake: it can be yours for a mere $0.75.

Ten or so of these is probably enough to fill up a normal person, but given that I have a second stomach reserved for excess food, I usually grab a plain sesame pancake ($0.75 for 1) too. Often enough you can get a sesame pancake with various fillings, ranging from various meats to a veggie medley, but at Prosperity I usually go for the plainer option. The meat slices and veggies they use tend to not be very fresh. Besides, getting it plain allows you to savor the raw, scallion-studded flavor of this amazing hunk of carbs. If you want the full sandwich experience, Vanessa’s makes a mean roast pork version which I highly recommend.

So, let’s do the math here: $2 (dumplings) + $0.75 (sesame pancake) = $2.75 total. You’re more than satiated for less than $3. I dare you to find a better deal than that.

Prosperity Dumpling / 46 Eldridge St (btwn Canal and Hester Sts) / Cash Only / (212) 343-0683 ‎

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