Tanxia Wang Fu Zhou Cuisine on Eldrigde, just south of well known hand-pulled noodle spot Sheng Wang, serves a succinct menu of Fujian classics and is one of the choicest pieces of Chinatown knowledge I've acquired in ages (though a friend of mine softened my enthusiasm for it a bit the other day, I'd like to hear what some Chowhounds think of this place).
The dumplings here are the main draw, and they're brought steaming on styrofoam plates almost as soon as you've snagged a seat (sometimes before you've even finished ordering). The waitresses speak barely any English, but you can always point at the menu along the long, constantly crowded wall. It's a busy spot, but turnover is high, so you're likely to find a seat soon enough.
Back to the dumplings. They're filled with copious greens mixed in loosely amidst slightly sweet, ground pork. With just a bit of grease–enough to coat your mouth, alerting you to the presence of fatty pork juice–these dumpling don't easily wear out their welcome. The dumpling skin (likely a commercial wrapper), is just thin enough and more than up to the task. At just $9 for a bag of 50, it's worth bringing some home.
The wonton soup is almost as good. A drop of finely ground pork is centered around a thin, almost diaphanous, ripple of dumpling skin. (Diaphanous was my eating companion's word, not mine. I could only figure it out in context and am slightly embarrassed to admit I had to look up the actual definition.)
Peanut butter noodles (I think these are called gan mian, but correct me if I'm wrong) can be a whole meal by themselves. Bland without any additions, they're best when doused in Sriracha and thick soy sauce.
Pork balls looked vaguely testicular. They can be a little greasy, but they complement the thick broth so well that all is forgiven.
Fish balls filled with ground pork, with their slippery texture, are a chopstick workout. A slightly porkier version of gefilte fish. The broth, lighter than the one served with the pork balls, was just as good.
Significantly, this place is Dirt Cheap. A meal for two, including two bowls of soup, a plate of noodles and eight dumplings will only run you around $9. It's seriously impossible to spend more than $10 here (well, maybe you could get a drink). Check it out. You won't be sorry.
Tanxia Wang Fu Zhou Cuisine
13B Eldridge Street (south of Canal)
New York, NY 10002
Tanxia Wang Fu Zhou
13B Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002