“Dumpling Dilemma” never quite solved the issue of what does and doesn’t make a dumpling. Which is fine, because that means there’s really no end to the vast selection of dumpling-esque treats if you stretch your imagination! Below is a list of Southern spots where Vivian found some of her favorites.
(Note: due to the global coronavirus pandemic, many of these restaurants are closed. We hope you can enjoy them when it’s safe to venture out to eat again.)
Mothers & Sons Trattoria | Durham, N.C
Josh “Skinny” Decarolis pays homage to his Southern Italian grandparents with his version of gnocchi, plus an entire hand-made menu of Italian pastas, seasonal vegetables and more.
Pizzeria Toro | Durham, N.C.
While this pizzeria is well-known for, well, pizza, the ricotta dumplings are the sleeper hit. A regular on the seasonal appetizer menu, this dumpling dish makes a hearty bar snack, too.
Asian Palace | Memphis, Tenn.
Our production crew took two trips to the Delta and sampled at least a dozen dumplings at Asian Palace in Memphis on at least three occasions. This is where the Chows and Chinns and Chinese families from both Tennessee and Mississippi gather on Sundays for dim sum feasts. It’s worth the hype!
Mai Little China | Greenwood, Miss.
The Mai family likes puns, and their restaurant is truly a version of their melding of Southern and Chinese cultures. The daily lunch buffet includes Southern specials — on Mondays it’s smothered pork chops and turnip greens — and surprising Chinese-American treats, like the most perfectly fried chicken seasoned with Chinese spices. Dinner is an array of old-school cheffy specialties in the French culinary tradition, with Southern spins on Chinese food, like the signature catfish Mai. Read more about Mai Little China in The Local Palate.
Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria | Wilmington, N.C.
There may currently not be a gnudi on special, but you can still get fully-dressed pizzas and antipasti for takeout if you live in Wilmington. Vivian’s third restaurant offers a big pizza menu with fun names, like the Guilty Pleasure (it’s the one with pineapple bits) and The One With Shrooms (you get the drift).