“No dumpling is a bad dumpling.”
Meet Chris Cheung, a well-known NYC Chinatown food ambassador and the Executive Chef & Owner of East Wind Snack Shop, a charming, outstanding Chinese-dumpling restaurant located in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn. I met Chris during one of my typical afternoons wandering the city, chasing dumplings – a hunger itch I’m always happy to scratch. If dumplings are on a menu, there is a 95% chance I’ll order them. When I don’t, I regret it immediately. I have to know: will this be “the one”? You can taste when someone has the touch – when their dumplings are more than food. A hot, juicy bite dipped in sauces, sweet and savory, should transport you, widening your eyes in a burst of flavor. The skin should be soft, almost tender, with a slightly salty chew, and its thickness should never overwhelm the filling. After all, it is a vessel to contain the happy marriage of meats, vegetables, herbs & spices – not dough with a little bit of filling. To me, the filling to skin ratio is an art in itself. No one wants a dumpling that breaks apart when you pick it up, wasting away the treasured juices –oh, no, no– and only a truly dedicated dumpling maker would ensure that.
I’ve had tons of okay dumplings. I’ve had some really good dumplings. I’ve had a few excellent, mind-blowing dumplings. The dry-aged beef pot stickers & heritage pork dumplings at East Wind Snack Shop are on the upside of excellent. A lot of care and love goes into them. In my experience, you need to eat a lot of mediocre dumplings before you hit a bulls-eye. Chris’s dumplings hit bulls-eye with thoughtful precision. He’s worked years on his recipes and cooking techniques, traveled to kitchens in China, tasted & observed the local dumpling masters before perfecting his style. East Wind Snack Shop is the product of years of love and hard work, a staple of the growing Windsor Terrace food scene. But above all else, it’s a wink to Old Chinatown, a valiant attempt to preserve the traditions of local Chinese food culture he grew up with, in the city – a culture that is fast being replaced by modern food. Chris is a self-proclaimed NYC Chinatown food ambassador.
What you’ll love most about Chris, when you meet him, is how adamant he gets about never dissing a dumpling. No matter how hard I tried to encourage him to air his NY dumpling grievances, he wouldn’t do it. A true ambassador. Enjoy his inspiring food video!
This winter season, look out for a new location of East Wind Snack Shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn’s soon-to-open food hall. Plus, soup dumplings! Yes, get ready, the original location is adding slurp-worthy soup dumplings to their winter menu – a secret recipe that Chris has been very excited to debut. More to come on that. I promise.
Thanks for watching! Eat more stories! xx