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Dumpling Rally Looks to Bring Business Back to Sandy-Damaged Chinatown

 The Dumpling Rally hosted by Rally Downtown will tour four different dumpling houses.
The Dumpling Rally hosted by Rally Downtown will tour four different dumpling houses.
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Rally Downtown

CHINATOWN — To successfully eat a soup dumpling don't bother with chopsticks, according to Christine Seid, the second-generation owner of the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory.

"You have to really carefully put it onto a soup spoon and eat it in one bite so you don't break it and the soup comes out," she said, adding that waiting a few minutes for the broth to cool down is ideal to avoid burning your mouth.

This is the type of knowledge Seid and others will be passing on to amateur dumpling eaters during this Saturday's Dumpling Rally that is providing tours to some of Chinatown's best dumpling houses.

The rally, an idea from State Sen. Daniel Squadron who is a self-professed authority on Chinatown food, is aiming to bring business back to Chinatown as stores still fight to recover from Hurricane Sandy.

"That is one of our goals, to showcase the gems of New York," said event organizer Tom Gray, executive director of the Greenwich Village Chelsea Chamber of Commerce and co-founder of Rally Downtown that is organizing the tours.

"People will go to places they have never been before. The event will drive traffic, raise awareness and get people to come back to these dumplings houses."

Rally Downtown is a project to help businesses get back on their feet post-Sandy with events that bring shoppers through their doors once again.

The Dumpling Rally is offering four tours this Saturday — one at noon and 4 p.m. and two at 2 p.m. Squadron will host one of the 2 p.m. crawls.  

Squadron, who held his wedding's rehearsal dinner as well as his first-ever political meeting in Chinatown, passionately described the ideal dumpling as "a rich and satisfying filling" that "unleashes the full power" of its flavor from its dough wrapping at exactly the right moment.

"Chinatown is full of small businesses run by independent entrepreneurs — many of them immigrants — who, despite all the challenges of succeeding in the city, work hard, stick with it and provide extraordinary food," he wrote in an email to DNAinfo.com New York.

Tickets for the dumpling crawl are $25 and include dumplings at houses such as Prosperity on Eldridge Street and Lam Zhou on East Broadway. The tour ends at the Chinatown Ice Cream factory for dessert.

"It will be a little bit cheaper, you get the social aspect, a set of chopsticks. The dumplings are included and you get ice cream at the end," said Gray. The tour also gives out a map so those who attend can return to the dumpling houses.

While the organization is yet to apply for nonprofit status, Gray said any funds left over will go to planning more business-generating events for Sandy affected areas.

Ten percent of the ticket price will also go to the Chinese American Planning Council, a local nonprofit.

"It took a lot longer for business to pick up for a long time after Sandy," said Gray. "At the very least everyone went without power."

To purchase tickets for the Dumpling Rally go to the event's website.