They achieve the former by deep–frying their dumplings, made from scratch at an off–site kitchen. This allows the dumplings to stumble home with drunk you without getting cold and rubbery or sticking together. The dough–to–filling ratio is perfect even for a sober person.
They achieve the latter by experimentation. My favorite was the Asian Pork ($7.50), which is so juicy it didn’t need any sauce. What I’m saying is, pork inside deep fried dough is delicious—you heard it here first. A very close second was the Cheesesteak Dumpling.
Here's what happens in your mouth as you eat the Cheesecake Dumpling: your teeth close in on the slight crust of sugar, then sink into the soft pillow of dough. The warm, creamy filling oozes from the first opening, then, as you sink deeper, explodes. Your mouth is full, but you still lick the sugar from your lips. Then you chew through the rest of the doughy casing, blending it with the filling until, finally, you swallow and reach for another.
The Spinach Mozzarella Ricotta Dumplings were kind of like spanakopita, and the vegan Corn Chowder Dumplings (which our Uber driver, who shared in our leftovers, very much enjoyed) were kind of like samosas. While these foods are traditionally served in a flaky, triangular pastry, they really hit their stride inside a steamed three–dimensional geometric shape that tapered smoothly from a flat circular base to a doughy apex, which is the mathematical term for dumpling–shape. These are the only two I recommend steamed rather than deep fried, and they both taste better with the Back–burner BBQ Sauce. The Peach Cobbler Dumpling needs to be deep–fried, though. It’s coated in cinnamon and brown sugar and tastes like something you’d have no regrets about eating at a fair even after you lose it on the flying swings.
I also tried the Chicken Pot Pie Noodles ($10), which were topped in a creamy broth sauce and crumbled buttery pie–crust. The beans and carrots don’t come from a tin, and you can tell. My advice is to focus on the dumplings, although I did take the noodles home and live off them for three days.
The restaurant is right by South Street, Penn’s Landing and Spruce Street Harbor Park. It’s also directly opposite The inside of the restaurant is a combination of exposed brick and paint by the cooks at Humpty’s Dumplings. The psychedelic portraits are by South Philly artist , and I like to believe they demonstrate his personal feelings about different dumplings available at the restaurant.
Thankfully, Humpty’s Dumplings takes suggestions. I know I’m not the only one hoping to see a bacon egg and cheese and a chocolate praline dumpling.
TL;DR: Give a dumpling the right filling and it can conquer the world.
Don’t miss: The Cheesesteak/cake Dumplings.
Skip: The salads. Who eats salad when dumplings are available?
When to go: Wednesday, when they have 5 dumplings for $5, or any time you’re drunk really.
Location: 705 E Passyunk Ave
Price range: $