Infatuation Rule #236: Food served in a styrofoam container is always going to be good. When restaurant owners care so little about presentation and aesthetic, it usually means they are confident that the food will conquer all, making believers out of even the pickiest eaters. That, or they just don’t give a damn what you think, who your dad is, or if you come back for seconds. You want a plate??!? Be thankful you’re even getting you a fork.
It's not entirely clear which approach the people over at Prosperity Dumpling take, but the rule proves true nonetheless. A Chinatown staple, the actual space comfortably holds around six bodies at a given time, so be prepared to stand in a line that spills out onto the street. Waiting is a good time to get acquainted with your surroundings -- pile of hot garbage over here, street rat over there -- because unless you catch Prosperity at a particularly slow time, you are likely eating your meal on the sidewalk. Styrofoam and all.
So why are we sending you to eat in a cramhole that may or may not even have room for you? Because while the seating options are thin and the decor is nonexistent, the fried dumplings being served up are spectacularly delicious.
That, and because you can pay for your meal in quarters. At the whopping price of $1 - or the cost of drying a sweatshirt and half a towel - you can be the proud owner of a shiny new container of four pork and chive dumplings. (For the non-math majors out there, that means $2 gets you eight of these bad boys). No matter how much you swear by your street cart hot dogs or favorite 99-cent slice, these dumplings are the best bang-for-a-buck bite in town. Say that three times fast. Now say it three times fast with a Prosperity dumpling in your mouth.
See, we're having fun already.
The queen bee. We definitely prefer them fried, but steamed works too if that's how you roll. Either way, resist the temptation to inhale your order, because you will scald your mouth. That’s a promise. And don't be shy with the sauces inside. There's no wrong way to eat a dumpling.
"Sometimes we just can't eat pork." If that was something we would ever say (it's not) the veggie dumplings here would be our order. Steamed and nicely filled, the diced veg stuffing inside is actually quite nice.
Think scallion pancake, minus the whole fried-in-oil part. To be fair though, this is probably fried in some oil at some point, because what in this place isn't? An inch thick with a good crunchy crust, this was surprisingly enjoyable. Salty without being overwhelmingly so, worth a share if you're determined to eat something non-dumpling.
A doughy cousin of the dumpling, these piqued our interest but failed to impress. Forget that red pork filling you are used to in a "pork bun," these bites have the same middle as the pork dumplings but with more unnecessary dough on the outside. Pass.
Meh, skip it. If you have room for this, you're better off just eating four (eight) more dumplings.