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Vanessa's Dumplings: Comfort Without a Cost

A few years ago, I had a job as an assistant in Williamsburg at a cool graphic design firm. My co-workers took me under their wing from day one, showing me all the delicious and hip spots in the area. I haven't really returned to any of the places they took me since I stopped working in the area, except one: Vanessa's Dumplings.

Vanessa's Dumplings is an unassuming little shop where you can buy a plate of eight dumplings for under $6. They also have sesame pancake sandwiches, soups, and everything else you'll need to make these impossibly cold mid-winter days slightly more bearable.

I found myself in the Lower East Side for my organ lesson, and we finished up a little earlier than expected. I popped "Vanessa's Dumplings" into Google Maps, since I had a hunch there was a location nearby. Lucky for me, I was only a quarter of a mile from the original location of Vanessa's Dumplings. I ordered online, hopped out of my car fifteen minutes later, and my dumplings were sitting there waiting for me.

I've had hot and sour soup hundreds of times in my life, but somehow Vanessa's hits the spot the way other soups just don't. It's a little spicy without being overly salty, and the mushrooms are huge and floppy. I could drink the broth by itself, but the perfection of a spoonful of broth plus the tofu, sprouts, mushrooms... it almost makes me want to feel chilly so I can warm back up with a spicy hot soup. Almost.

The dumplings are better shared with friends but tasty enough that I could eat them myself, though that might not be the best idea. They're plump, overflowing with filling, and enough for two meals. You can clearly tell the difference between homemade and mass produced... Vanessa's dumplings, a member of the former classification, are gently pulling apart at the seams, one or two stray dumplings spilling its delicious filling into the container, perfect to sop up the extra soy sauce when you're trying to get one more mouthful out of your meal.

I knew I was going to be full after both soup and dumplings, so I didn't indulge in a bubble tea this time around, but they're also fantastic. I especially love the almond flavored one. More dessert than tea, it makes a perfect ending to this cheap and satisfying meal.

There are multiple locations Vanessa's Dumplings locations all over New York City, so treat yourself to some hot soup and cheap homemade dumplings during these sub-20 degree days:



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