Chowhound Lau, who frequently discusses Chinese restaurants on the boards, has proclaimed that Flushing's White Bear serves the best dumplings in all of New York. They are advertised as Shandong style—Shandong is a region of China known for its tasty jiaozi—and Lau says the thing to order is the "wontons in hot oil," which are stuffed with pork and minced cabbage, and topped with pickled veggies, diced scallions, and what appears to be a homemade chile oil. (Lau favors the boiled dumplings, which are less greasy than the fried version.) The filling is "always very good," but Lau is most charmed by those toppings: "the combo of chili oil and the salty-and-sour flavor of the pickled vegetables go really well with the dumplings. These are comparable to the type of thing you can get in Asia. I highly recommend trying these."
Though the place lacks charm—"a tiny rundown white room with about 4 tables and you can maybe fit 8 people in it," as Lau describes it—you can get the dumplings to go and eat them at a park on the same block. Lau also suggests grabbing a bag of frozen dumplings to go, a great idea for those of us who may have trekked to Flushing from another borough. "They cook up great either fried or boiled. I usually eat them with soy sauce mixed with spicy sesame oil. These are a great snack at home," Lau says.
Despite the glowing endorsement, other hounds are less charmed by White Bear. E Eto doesn’t care for the dumplings, saying they aren't flavorful or spicy enough. Lau counters that "they are more subtle than the types of dumplings you're talking about, they taste much more home-style." CitySpoonful's curiosity was nevertheless piqued by the White Bear discussion, raising a question about the vegetarian dumplings. Lau has spied them on the menu but has not sampled them.
Have any other hounds been to White Bear? How are the nonmeat options? How do their dumplings stack up against the city’s most famous? What else is worth ordering while you’re there?
White Bear [Flushing]
135-02 Roosevelt Avenue, Queens