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Betony's Jeff Taylor Pairs Prosperity Dumplings With Riesling

The right beverages can enhance any food. We asked several wine pros to pair up wines with a meal of cheap eats.

[Prosperity Dumpling]
[Prosperity Dumpling]
Jeff Taylor

The Drinker: Jeff Taylor, Wine Director of Betony

The Bottle: J.B. Becker, Riesling Kabinett Trocken, Wallufer Walkenberg, Rheingau, Germany 1993

The Place: Prosperity Dumpling – 46 Eldridge Street, Chinatown, NYC

How it All Went Down, According to Jeff: Prosperity Dumpling has set the bar pretty high as far as a price to quality ratio goes. It is the quintessential hole in the wall joint with only four seats and an always present line that spills out onto Eldridge Street. While they have a fairly extensive menu of soups, buns, and noodles I only go for two things: fried pork & chive dumplings and sesame pancakes. You can get a huge slice of sesame pancake and four piping hot dumplings for just a dollar each. Not much can beat it. They are open from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., seven days a week. Thank god they aren't open late night, or there would be a lot of drunk people facing burnt taste bud carnage from scarfing down piping hot dumplings without breathing first.

[Hans-Josef Becker and his first vintage of Wallufer Walkenberg Riesling Auslese 1971 (from Vom Boden Germany Trip May 2015); The 1993 Wallufer Walkenberg Kabinett Trocken and Lemon-Lime Gatorade (pre-exchange)]

I thought about a good bottle to bring for Dumpling Fest. When it comes to Chinese food I always think Riesling. Just recently I was in Germany and we tasted at J.B. Becker in the Rheingau. Hans-Josef Becker, the third generation and winemaker since 1971, is a Badass in the truest sense: he rocks pink eyeglasses, sports an Otto von Bismarck mustache, and generally doesn’t give a F about anything or anybody. An iconoclast in the truest sense, he was unfazed when he lost half his customer base after taking over winemaking in 1971 and focusing his production on the then unfashionable "trocken" or dry styles of Riesling. He has stayed true to his vision and it is only now that we are seeing his wines in the US.

[Left: The Prosperity Dumpling Menu. Mostly everyone orders the #17 – Chive and Pork Fried Dumplings. Four come your way for $1. Right: Two large woks housing the goods: Fried Dumplings on the left and Boiled on the right.]

Now with the bottle chosen, I complimented it with the perfect vessel in which to smuggle the 1993 Wallufer Walkenberg Kabinett Trocken: an empty plastic bottle of Lemon-Lime Gatorade. A clever choice I believe, as Riesling is often referred to as "Somm Gatorade" and the color of 22-year-old Riesling mimics the hue of the lemon-lime gatorade quite well, not to mention the echo in some of the same tasting notes.

[The sidewalk seating is new since my last visit to Prosperity. Providing the most scenic view of Eldridge Street for sure. A highly coveted 4-top with its own Sriracha and soy sauce.]

Coda: All in all, things worked out pretty well. My photo taker and sommelier, Christopher, a sly dumpling thief, arrived with me about 11 a.m., before the lunch rush hit; I had already poured the wine into the Gatorade bottle at my apartment.

[Order on the table: Pork & Chive Fried Dumplings, Pork & Chive Steamed Dumplings, Sesame Pancake, Diet Coke decoy, Becker in the Gatorade bottle and the rest of the Becker in a shopping bag, in case of a needed refill.]

We scored the prime outdoor patio table; and all was prosperous and well at the dumpling house.

What the food cost: 2 orders of fried dumplings, 1 order of boiled dumplings, 2 sesame pancakes, and 2 cans of soda - all in for $8.50.


41 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019 212-465-2400

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