At a time when Manhattan is becoming one big mall, I applaud the opening of this family owned business which emphasizes authentic Taiwanese tradition, organic food, and sustainability.
Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings, located on Second Avenue in the East Village, features three scrumptious dumpling types:
- The Mimi Cheng, which consists of pasture raised chicken and organic zucchini
- The Reinvented Classic, which includes pasture raised pork, local bok choy, and organic cabbage
- The Mighty Veggie, which features organic kale and zucchini, free range eggs, and shitake mushrooms
Six dumplings are available for eight dollars. Eight dumplings are available for ten dollars.
I tasted all three varieties—and a desert dumpling stuffed with bananas. I must say that I never fathomed that a banana dumpling could exist. The dumplings were crispy and delicious. The meat dumplings were made from grass fed and organic meats obtained from Fleisher’s (a Brooklyn-based speciality butcher). All the dumplings were oozing with liquid to the extent that it was necessary to take special care to avoid staining one’s clothing. Although this is not a Taiwanese expression, the dumplings “spritzed.”
I ensconced myself within the restaurant’s streamlined beige interior which offers a view of an open kitchen. Local craftspeople used reclaimed wood and scaffolding to make the counters, tables, and benches. Marian Cheng, who started the restaurant with her sister Hannah and based it on their mother’s delicious cooking, sat down to chat with me. Marian explained that she and her sister are obsessed with food to the extent that they characterize themselves as “food pushers” who wish to share great food with others.
Since the sisters could not find the equivalent of their mother’s dumplings in any restaurant, they decided to assuage this situation via opening their own restaurant. Since I am very nosey, I asked where the sisters derived the money to open the restaurant. Marian said that she received “family funding.” I saw her father pitching in by helping in the kitchen! It is wonderful that these two women are receiving such superb family support. Marian wishes to expand the business in the future; she foresees “dumpling ninjas” cooking up a dumpling storm at many locations.
– Marleen Barr