A Look Inside The NYC Dumpling Festival

As a newly minted NYC transplant, around 14-ish years ago, my then boyfriend (now husband) took me to Joe’s Shanghi for savory soup dumplings filled with hot broth for my first official welcome-to-NYC meal.  I like them (he LOVES them) – and sourcing the city’s best dumplings has pretty much been a moderate obsession for him.  So when the NYC Dumpling Festival reached out to Marino Bambinos, I had just the person to send to them.

Last Saturday, September 26th, on National Dumpling Day, Chef One’s Annual Dumpling Festival took place at Sarah Roosevelt Park and over 5,000 dumpling enthusiasts came to join in the festivities.

The event kicked off with a traditional dragon dance followed by a ceremonial dumpling cutting – which was basically a giant dumpling stuffed with a ton of tiny dumplings. Dumpling Mama was on hand as the cheerful mascot and perfect Instagrammable friend, while an array of dancers helped set the fun festive tone.

Chinese Dragon DanceDumpling Mascotstuffed dumplingDumling Festival Dancer

Free admission welcomed all, and a $20 tasting ticket granted permission to sample dumplings from four different tents boasting a smorgasbord of dumplings from cultures around the world.  There were steamed chicken and basil dumplings, potato pierogis, edamame dumpling, empanadas and so much more.  Not to mention the additional goodies like Kimchi noodles, Lo mein, wild mushroom ravioli and other delectable bites.

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If you’re in the dark about the word of competitive eating, it’s apparently a thing – and the Chef One 12th Annual Dumpling Eating Contest went down in a major way at the festival.  First the speed-eating legend Takeru Kobayashi showed how it’s done, pounding 32 dumplings in his 30-second dumpling eating demo – demonstrated twice – before serving as a contest judge.  Next up was the official contents with $2K up for grabs for the winners in both the male and female division.  The contest culminated with a new record breaker – a female who chowed an astounding 93 (yes 93!) dumplings in two minutes.  I’m still trying to wrap my head around that one!


At the end of the day, in addition to the delicious food, dumpling-making classes, exciting raffles and all around spirit, one of the best parts was knowing that 100% of all proceeds from ticket sales was directly donated to the Food Bank For NYC.  As one of the city’s major hunger-relief organizations, Food Bank provides food for approximately 64 million free meals per year for New Yorkers in need while working towards long-term solutions to food poverty.

dumpling festival nyc

Now that’s face-stuffing goodness to feel good about.

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  1. Looks like such a fun weekend and I LOVE dumplings, the first time I tried them was last summer in Minnesota ( they are not to popular here in Canada), I looked at it and I thought ewww gross, but when I tried them I was in love forever now if they are on the menu I order them always

  2. Natalie Diaz says

    How did I miss this event???? lol. This has my name all over it. YUM!

  3. Mary Dailey says

    This is the first I have ever heard of this and you can count me in!!! That is a lot of people attending too! Gonna put this on my bucket list!!

  4. very eloquent .


  1. […] September 24th and you bet we’ll be hightailing it to Sara D. Roosevelt Park (noon-5pm), again this year, to catch all the action and chomp away at delicious dumplings made fresh in Chef One’s […]

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