So, who knew the NYC Dumpling Fest was huge? I only heard about it last minute and we showed up to the Sara D. Roosevelt Park in Manhattan expecting 50-100 people and a dumpling cart or two. No. There had to be over a thousand people there even though it was raining and about ten stands selling dumplings from countries around the world (Mexican tomales, Italian gnocci, Chinese bao and potstickers, India dumplings, etc.). The festival was rockin-- Akon's album played over the speakers.
The lines for dumplings were insane. I stood in line for 45 minutes only to find out when I finally got to the front that I was not in the Chinese bao line like I wanted. I was in the whole wheat dumpling line. Who wants to wait in line for whole wheat dumplings? I don't anyway, but there was no way I was waiting in line again. It ended up being a good thing. They are actually really great. I think it's a new product-- Tang's frozen whole wheat potstickers available I know at least at Whole Foods. Try them and tell me what you think!
The largest whole wheat dumpling in the world weighing in at 786 lbs. was also on display at the festival.
Joe Menchetti (I've also seen it spelled Manchetti) won the dumpling eating contest for the fifth time in a row. I watched him stuff 53 dumpling in his mouth in 2 minutes. This was my first time to see an eating contest live and I found it kind of disgusting (see the short video we filmed below). I still can't get the image of the guy vomiting on stage out of my mind. The grand prize was $1000 for the men's and women's division. Here's a pic of the winner of the women's being interviewed. I can't remember how many she ate but I remember wondering how she could possibly fit them all in her stomach.
An interesting tidbit I picked up from the to star "athletes" who came in 1st and 2nd. Both of their scores were about 10 dumplings lower from years past. In their interviews, they attributed this to the fact that this was the first time that the dumpling were whole wheat and they were more difficult to eat. Good to know if you plan on stuffing your face.